CHICAGO – Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) Director Barry S. Maram today announced the successful implementation of new technology that will enable the state to cut costs and improve efficiency in distributing child support to Illinois families.
The new computer system is administered though the Illinois State Disbursement Unit (SDU). The SDU is a centralized processing center required by federal law, which receives and distributes more than 7 million child support payments annually. The year 2009 marked the SDU’s tenth anniversary in Illinois.
“Our goal is help parents provide for their children by offering quality child support enforcement services. It is also important that we offer those services in a cost-effective way,” said Director Maram. “The original implementation of the SDU caused significant turmoil for Illinois families, which is why our first priority was to make sure this technology transition was seamless. I am pleased to say that this done without affecting families, and we were able to save the state money as well.”
The new system increases efficiency by integrating all of the SDU’s aspects into a single solution. Between fiscal years 2004 and 2009, the SDU utilized technology that cost the state more than $109 million. The new technology will save the state $40 million until fiscal year 2015.
When the SDU was implemented in Illinois 10 years ago, the transition caused serious disruptions in child support payments. Families depending upon child support payments were forced to wait several weeks to receive checks. Since then, HFS has worked tirelessly to stabilize and improve the payment processing center’s performance. The department now collects over $1 billion in child support for Illinois families each year.
The State Disbursement Unit processes all Illinois income withholding payments and most other child support payments and Illinois child support orders. The SDU does not enforce support orders. However, HFS does provide free support enforcement services. Child support enforcement services are available to any parent who needs assistance in establishing legal parentage, establishing child support or medical support, or enforcing support. To register for free child support enforcement services, parents must complete and sign an application. Applications are available online at http://www.ilchildsupport.com/ or by calling 1-800-447-4278 for assistance.