The Federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) requires each state to have a single location to receive and disburse child support payments. The purpose of this law is to streamline and reduce the costs of the child support collection and disbursement process, to allocate money received across all local child support agency cases (IV-D) according to law and to simplify the administration of wage assignments for employers.
    What are the major functions of the SDU?
    1. Receive and process payments in a centralized location and through one system. It provides a single place for employers, obligor parents and other states to send support payments.
    2. Disburse and distribute support payments from a centralized location and through one system. It provides a single entity to send payments to custodial parents and other states.
    3. Staff an Electronic Help Desk to provide support for employers, obligor parents and other states in sending; and custodial parents and other states in receiving payments, using electronic processes such as wire transfer, credit card, direct deposit etc.
    4. Staff a Non IV-D Customer Service Center to provide non IV-D participants limited information about their child support, such as payment histories or replacement payments.
    How does the SDU determine which case to credit payments to and where to send the payments it receives?
    1. When a payment is received by the SDU in IV-D cases, the following process takes place:
      1. The SDU staff identifies the obligor parent making the payment and sends the payment information to the CSE*.
      2. The CSE allocates the payment across all the obligor parent's cases within the state.
      3. The CSE sends disbursement instructions according to the allocation to the SDU.
      4. The SDU disburses according to the CSE’s instructions.
      5. The SDU sends disbursement status information to the CSE.
    2. In private non IV-D cases enforced by wage withholding, the following process occurs when a payment is received:
      1. The SDU staff identifies the obligor parent and sends the payment information to the CSE.
      2. The CSE determines the payment is associated with a non-IV-D case and applies the funds to that case.**
      3. CSE sends disbursement instructions to the SDU.
      4. The SDU disburses according to the CSE instructions.
      5. The SDU sends disbursement status information to the CSE.
    What are the practical changes for the Non-Custodial (Obligor) Parent?
    In IV-D Cases:

    1. The obligor is to send all California child support payments directly to the SDU.
    2. The obligor will have the ability to electronically submit re-occurring and one time payments via the SDU website or by phone, as well as through other payment methods, such as credit card and Western Union.
    3. If support payments are withheld by the employer, they will continue to be withheld and will be forwarded to the SDU instead of the local child support agency.
    4. Obligor's may contact the SDU Electronic Help Desk for answers to their questions about electronic payment processing.
    In Non IV-D Cases:

    1. Obligors who are paying by wage assignment may contact the Non IV-D Customer Services Center for answers to their questions about the SDU as well as request payment history records.
    2. If support payments are withheld by the employer, they will continue to be withheld and will be forwarded to the SDU instead of the local child support agency.
    What are the practical changes for the custodial parent?
    In IV-D Cases:

    1. Custodial parents receive checks issued by the SDU.
    2. Custodial parents have the option to receive child support payments electronically by direct deposit, electronic pay cards (EPC) that function like a Visa or debit card.
    3. Custodial Parents may contact the SDU Electronic Help Desk for answers to their questions about electronic disbursements.
    In Non IV-D Cases:

    1. If the child support obligor is paying by wage assignment, the custodial parent will receive checks from the SDU instead of the employer.
    2. Custodial parents have the option to receive child support payments electronically by direct deposit, electronic pay cards (EPC) that function like a Visa or debit card, or by paper check.
    3. Custodial Parents may contact the SDU Electronic Help Desk for answers to their questions about electronic disbursements.
    4. Custodial parents may contact the Non IV-D Customer Services Center for answers to their questions about the SDU as well as request payment history records.
    When are cases not affected by the SDU?
    The SDU will have no impact on cases where the obligor parent is paying the custodial parent directly and a local child support agency is not involved in enforcement. The only non IV-D cases that are impacted are those that are being paid by wage withholding.
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