Child support direct deposit proves efficient for many families and the state
August 26, 2003
Bismarck, N.D. - The North Dakota Department of Human Services reports that participation in direct deposit of child support collections has grown to over $1 million per month in just six months, proving efficient for families and the state agency. Families who have child support payments, spousal support payments, or medical support payments handled through the state disbursement unit were offered the service beginning January 2003. Since that time, over 2,100 people have signed up.
"Direct deposit is more convenient, more secure, and may give families faster access to payments because they don't have to wait for checks to arrive by mail, and they don't have to go to the bank. Taxpayers also benefit because the state is saving money in mailing costs," said human services executive director Carol K. Olson.
Mike Schwindt, the director of the Child Support Enforcement Division, said through July 2003 the department was able to avoid writing over 16,000 support checks and has saved about $6,000 alone in check paper, envelopes and postage costs. Cost savings from the direct deposit service were built into the department's 2003-2005 budget.
Schwindt said about 50 people sign up for direct deposit each week, and he expects participation to grow. The department is also studying the feasibility of using debit cards as another alternative to checks, he said.
Anyone receiving support payments through the child support division who has an account at a bank or credit union can sign up for the service by completing a Direct Deposit Enrollment and Authorization Form. The form is available at www.childsupportnd.com or by contacting customer service at (701) 328-5440 in Bismarck or Toll Free at (800) 231-4255.
To determine if a payment has been processed, parents can call the division's Toll Free number (800) 231-4255, which is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week. A custodial parent must contact his or her bank or credit union to find out if a payment has been credited to an account.
Each month about $7.5 million in child support collections pass through the North Dakota state disbursement unit and about 30,000 checks are issued.
Heather Steffl (701) 328-4933, or
Mike Schwindt (701) 328-7501