Child Support’s Main Partner is Payroll, Commissioner Says


Nearly two-thirds of all child support collections are made through electronic portals and the Office of Child Support Enforcement is pushing for more efficiencies, the office commissioner said May 18. 

Withholding through payroll was the “means to collect” some $24.4 billion of a total $32.4 billion in child support payments in 2017, OCSE Commissioner Scott Lekan told attendees at the American Payroll Association’s 36th Congress, held at National Harbor, Md. 

The office also recorded 67,458,725 new hire reports in 2017, Lekan said. New hire reports are required to be filed by employers shortly after new workers come on board. The tracking through these reports allows the new employer to pick up any required withholding of child support payments through the payroll process. 

Lekan said three critical factors are required for the success of the child support collections program: a good system for collection and disbursement, a parent that works, and payroll professionals to garnish the wages.

The office currently collects $5.33 for every dollar spent on the program, Lekan said, comparing his agency’s efficiency favorable with other agencies tasked with tracking and collections. The office wants to build greater communication, collaborate more with partners like the payroll association, and be fiscally responsible, he said.

“Our job is to collect money for families,” he said as he thanked the payroll community for its part in the process.

“Electronic is the way to go,” for employers to meet their child support requirements. The OCSE internet portal includes areas for reporting lump-sum payments to workers as well as for reporting when workers terminated employment, he said. 

Before growing the program more, there needs to be evidence that such efforts would mean even more efficiency within the Office of Child Support Enforcement, Lekan said.