Maximizing Efficiency in Child Support Payments: A Comprehensive Guide (2023)


In the realm of child support payments, efficiency and accuracy are paramount. The Statewide Collection and Disbursement Unit (SCDU) in Pennsylvania plays a pivotal role in streamlining the process, ensuring timely and precise distribution. In this guide, we delve into the various payment methods and systems employed by SCDU to meet the needs of both payors and obligees.

Speed Requires Accuracy

The SCDU operates on the principle that speed requires accuracy. By outsourcing payment processing to private vendors, the unit achieves unparalleled efficiency. However, this efficiency hinges on the precision of the payment information received. Unlike local offices, dealing with smaller caseloads, the volume handled by SCDU demands absolute accuracy to prevent any delays or errors in payment processing.

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)

Embracing modern technology, SCDU promotes Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) as a superior payment method. EFT not only reduces costs but also ensures almost instantaneous processing, with about 99% of payments handled on the same day. Employers can seamlessly transfer withheld funds electronically, directly benefiting the payee. The system's swiftness enhances the overall convenience and safety of support payments.

EPPICard Debit Mastercard System

For those not opting for direct deposit, Pennsylvania introduces the EPPICard Debit MasterCard system. Managed by Affiliated Computer Services and partnered with Wachovia Bank, this system provides a "stored value card" option. Functioning like a regular debit card, it offers flexibility for purchases, cashback, and ATM withdrawals. The MasterCard logo ensures universal acceptance, and real-time balance information is easily accessible.

Tip: Optimize your card usage to avoid ATM fees – use it for purchases and request cash back.

Check / Money Order

Traditional methods still have their place. Support payments can be made via check or money order, payable to PA SCDU. Including essential details like the name and PACSES member ID or SSN, payments can be mailed to the designated address, ensuring a reliable fallback for those preferring conventional payment methods.

Credit Card Payments

In a digital age, credit card payments offer convenience. Payors can make support payments by calling (800) 955-2305 or online. However, it's crucial to be aware of associated flat fees. Whether using the phone or the e-childspay website, understanding these fees ensures transparency in the payment process.

Pay by Phone

For a hassle-free experience, those with checking or savings accounts can make single support payments over the phone. A simple call to PA SCDU at (877) 727-7238 connects payors with customer service representatives, streamlining the payment process.

Recurring Automatic Withdrawal (RAW)

For consistent support payment scheduling, the Recurring Automatic Withdrawal (RAW) option is available. Payors with checking or savings accounts can establish regular withdrawals by contacting PA SCDU. This automated approach simplifies the process for those seeking a hands-free, recurrent payment method.

Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF)

To deter bounced checks, SCDU has stringent measures in place. In case of Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF), personal or business checks are no longer accepted. Payors must resort to money orders or cashier's checks. Moreover, debts resulting from NSF incidents may be handed over to commercial collection agencies, with incurred service fees passed on to the payor.

Payment Information

Keeping track of payments is made easy through the Pennsylvania Child Support website. Utilizing this resource helps payors stay informed about their payment history and ensures that address and employment information remain up-to-date.

Annual Fee

A recent legislation mandates a $25 annual fee for specific child support cases. This fee, covering some federal government costs, applies when annual support collections surpass $500, and the custodial parent has never received cash assistance. Understanding the conditions under which this fee is applied is crucial to navigating the evolving landscape of child support regulations.

Changes to Distribution of Support in Multiple Family Cases

Effective October 12, 2008, alterations in the distribution priority for obligors with multiple support orders have been implemented. The revised hierarchy places emphasis on current child support, followed by medical and child care expenses, arrears, spousal support or alimony pendent elite, and court costs and fees. Adhering to federal law changes, this prioritization underscores the significance of child-related obligations.

In conclusion, navigating the intricacies of child support payments in Pennsylvania demands a thorough understanding of available methods and regulations. By embracing electronic options, staying informed about fees, and adapting to evolving distribution priorities, payors and obligees can ensure a seamless and efficient process. The Statewide Collection and Disbursement Unit's commitment to speed and accuracy underscores its dedication to facilitating timely and accurate support payments.


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