DWD: New Child Support Website Improves Service, Cuts Costs

Rose Lynch (608) 266-6753

Site Offers Parents More Complete, Timely, Secure Payment Information

Madison – Department of Workforce Development Secretary Roberta Gassman today announced a new child support website that will give parents enhanced payment information while delivering the service at a possible savings of up to $2 million for state taxpayers. DWD has developed the new website childsupport.wisconsin.gov/payments/ for parents who receive or pay child support or alimony.

Secretary Gassman said, “We encourage parents to sign up to access this information confidentially, from their homes. This new service is a vast improvement on the information available to parents via phone. An additional benefit of this new service is less cost to the public. Each phone call averages 38-cents. That cost can be saved if parents opt to use the internet instead. This is a great example of improving service while reducing costs – a win/win for everyone.”

DWD’s automated phone system now receives 484,700 calls per month on child support payments. Savings could reach $2 million per year, if all parents opted to use the website instead of making a phone call. While information continues to be available by phone, that information is limited to the last two payments. Secretary Gassman encouraged all parents who either pay or receive child support or alimony to use the website.

To ensure confidentiality, the registration is a two-step process. First, parents sign up on the DWD Child Support website at childsupport.wisconsin.gov/payments/ and provide all information as prompted on the website. DWD will then assign a special, confidential access code, called the KIDS Key, which will be mailed to the parent’s home address. Once the parent receives the KIDS key, he/she must once again access the Child Support website to complete the registration process.

On average, 380,000 children are involved child support cases each year. On a daily basis, DWD collects $2.9 million and makes 18,900 payments. Since the new website began as a pilot in July 2004, more than 8,500 parents have registered to use it and the site averages 200 new users each week.

The site was designed and created by DWD employees. Costs to maintain the website are minimal. Expanded help pages and tip sheets to guide parents are also available on-line.

The website displays payment information for the past 60 days, including the date of the payment, the source (payroll deduction or tax refund intercept, for example) and how the payment was applied (toward current support, amounts past due or fees). Information on the website is updated daily except Sundays and holidays, as payments are not processed on those days. To protect confidentiality, only individuals making or receiving support payments can register for this service.