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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 30, 1999

Ryan Announces New Central Unit For Child Support Payments

SPRINGFIELD - Governor George H. Ryan today announced that all child support and spousal support payments will be handled by a new centralized State Disbursement Unit after October 1, meeting a federal mandate to better coordinate these systems.

"The 1996 federal Welfare Reform law requires states to setup a central processing unit for support payments," Ryan said. "With the signing of Senate Bill 1063 a couple of months ago and the establishment of this unit, Illinois will be in full compliance."

Employers who are required by court order or administrative notice to withhold child or spousal support payments from their employees' paychecks will now forward the payments to the State Disbursement Unit located in DuPage County, instead of to the clerk of the circuit court in each county.

DuPage County was selected unanimously by the 102-members of the Illinois Association of Circuit Clerks to administer the Unit. Dewey Hartman, Chief Deputy of the DuPage County Court is the project manager for the unit, which will cost $6.7 million dollars in equipment, software and operational expenses.

Under Illinois law, employers are exempt from sending payments to the SDU if those employers received orders to withhold payments before January 1, 1994, and the custodial parent or spouse does not receive child support enforcement services through the Department of Public Aid. However, if those employers do send payments to the SDU, they will be accepted and processed.

The Department of Public Aid and the Illinois Child Support Advisory Committee's SDU workgroup are sending letters and materials to employers regarding the implementation of the unit. Circuit court clerks and representatives from the state Department of Employment Security, the National Center on Poverty Law, the Illinois Manufacturers Association and the Illinois Bankers Association also participated in this education effort.

"We recently sent approximately 350,000 letters to employers regarding the SDU requirements," said Public Aid Director Ann Patla. "We also will send letters about the SDU to non-custodial parents who pay support and to custodial parents and spouses who receive support."

Employers now using electronic fund transfer services, or those who would like to use electronic fund transfer services to send payments, must directly contact the SDU to access the system. Those who want to receive their support payments by direct bank deposit should fill out a form supplied by the Department of Public Aid or their

circuit court clerk. Banks are encouraged to offer low-cost checking or savings accounts for this purpose and, if they do, they may be eligible for credit under the Federal Community Reinvestment Act.

The State Disbursement Unit will forward information about support payments received and disbursed to the Circuit Court Clerks in each county on a daily basis.

Anyone needing information about a court order or a notice for support should contact the circuit court clerk in the county in which the order was issued. Anyone needing information about orders or notices for support issued by Public Aid should contact their regional Public Aid child support office. Those paying or receiving child support should report changes of name or address to their circuit court clerks for court-issued orders, or to the Department of Public Aid for IDPA-issued orders.

Recipients of the $50 child support "pass-through" payments under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program still will receive those payments through the Illinois Link card.

Parents with questions about child support should call the Department of Public Aid at 1-800-447-4278.

The SDU can be reached at P.O. Box 8000, Wheaton, Illinois 60189-8000.


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