The U.S. Child Support Enforcement Office is upgrading its electronic systems to standardize forms and better assist employers and state child support agencies, an official said May 10.
The OCSE recently developed an electronic National Medical Support Notice, said Robyn Large, a member of OCSE’s Employer Services team. The e-NMSN was released in 2022 and is modeled after the successful e-IWO, the electronic version of the Income Withholding Order form.
“States are coming on board. We currently have one large employer in one state that went through testing so we know that it works and that files can be exchanged,” Large said. “We’re bringing on more states and more employers.”
The OCSE expects e-NMSN to benefit payroll professionals who have been working remotely because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Large said at the American Payroll Association’s 40th Payroll Congress. E-NMSN should also reduce costs and save time for employers by establishing a standardized form that cannot be modified, eliminating the cost of postage and reducing paper processing.
Third-party providers and health care plan administrators will be able to use e-NMSN to benefit employers who outsource the management of their health care benefits plans, she added.
Virginia is currently the only state using e-NMSN as of March 21, according to the OCSE website.
The OCSE updated its online child support portal to allow employees to report upcoming lump-sum payments to state child support agencies, Large said. It is one of the newest features on the online portal and helps employers to comply with various state laws on lump-sum reporting.
“If you have 100 employees that are eligible for a lump-sum payment, you can upload the list of employees,” Large said. “We review their name and Social Security number to see if they actually have child support arrearage. If they don’t, then you can release that lump-sum payment. You don’t have to hold it for any length of time.”
Some states require employers to report lump-sum payments and hold them for a certain period of time if the child support agency does not respond, said Pat McQuiller, an associate director for AT&T Services. Lump-sum reporting through the federal child support services portal usually provides fast responses, enabling employers to release the payments to employees earlier.
AT&T Service’s call volume has decreased and the employee experience has increased since the OCSE added lump-sum reporting services to the portal, McQuiller added.
There is no standard response time for state child support agencies to respond to lump-sum payment reports, but they are responding more quickly than before the portal was upgraded, Large said. The reduced response time is attributable to having dedicated staff to review and respond to reports submitted through the portal, she said.
“Kudos to the Office of Child Support for partnering with employers to see what they need and want and making that happen,” McQuiller said.