Child support payments are to begin after a support order is entered.
CSSD cannot guarantee that the child(ren)'s primary custodian will receive payments on a consistent basis. If the other parent is making child support payments through wage withholding, that parent's employer should send the payments to the Child Support Clearinghouse according to the parent's pay dates. Otherwise, the parent is responsible for sending payments independently to the Clearinghouse according to schedule in the child support order. Note that the Clearinghouse receives many payments by mail, and mail times will vary.
Once the paying parent or that person's employer makes a payment, however, the child(ren)'s primary custodian may choose how to receive the child support for the family.
Forwarding Support to the Family
Electronic payments are the fastest and most secure way to receive child support payments once they are made. There are two electronic payment options:
- Child Support Debit Card: CSSD is able to place child support payments on the payee's child support debit card. A child support debit card can be used wherever debit cards are accepted.
- Direct Deposit: A payee may choose to have child support payments deposited directly into either a checking or savings account at a bank or other financial institution.
To begin receiving payments electronically, complete an Electronic Payment Application Form (Pagos Electonicos -- Spanish version). Follow the instructions on the form to email, fax, or mail the completed form to CSSD. After CSSD receives and processes the form, whenever the other parent makes payments that are owed to the family, they will be applied to the payee's debit card or bank account.
To stop electronic payments, send a written request to CSSD's FMU Manager by fax at (202) 585-0982 or by mail (400 6th Street, NW, Suite 7100, Washington, DC 20001), and include each case number on the request. After CSSD receives and processes the request, electronic payments will stop within 2 business days.
If the child's primary custodian (the payee) does not choose an electronic method to receive the child support payments that are owed to the family, CSSD will send child support to the family by paper check. It is important to note that receiving paper checks is slower than receipt of electronic payments. Allow up to 10 business days to receive payment by check, as mail delivery times vary.
Contact the Child Support Clearinghouse at (202) 370-1470 if any of the following situations arises in connection with a child support check:
- The check is stolen.
- The check is lost. (Please wait 10 business days before reporting a lost check.)
- The check is “stale dated” (i.e., is more than 90 days old).
Please contact the Clearinghouse to arrange for a replacement check to be issued. Replacement checks generally are received within 3 to 5 business days from the date of the request. Note, however, that receiving payments electronically eliminates the chance of losing a check or having it stolen.
Receiving Support in TANF Cases
The child's primary custodian may not receive all of the amount collected for child support when the family receives benefits through the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. Custodial parents enter into an assignment of rights in exchange for TANF benefits; however, the law also allows a portion of some child support payments to pass through and be sent to the family.
Payment Information and Delays
CSSD offers several methods for customers to see the most recent payments for a case.
- Online Case Lookup makes payment information available from any computer with access to the internet.
- The Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system provides case information over the telephone.
- Customers may contact CSSD at (202) 442-9900 during normal business hours and speak with a customer service representative.
To learn more, visit the Obtaining Information about Your Case page of this website.
Payments on Hold
There are several reasons why a payment may be placed on hold. Contact CSSD's Customer Service staff at (202) 442-9900, and a referral will be made to Financial Management staff to research the reason for the hold. Please allow 30 days for processing.
When a check is lost or stolen, contact the Child Support Clearinghouse to research the check's status. If the check has not been cashed, the Clearinghouse will send the child's custodian (payee) an Affidavit for Replacement Check to complete, sign, notarize, and return. Once the form is processed, a replacement check will be issued within 2 to 4 weeks. If a check was cashed illegally, a criminal investigation may need to be conducted, which requires up to 90 days.
Clearinghouse telephone number: (202) 370-1470
Tax Refund Intercept Delays
When a support arrears payment is made through tax intercept, the distribution of funds to a family follows a different process.
The paying parent typically is notified about the tax intercept approximately 60 days before the Clearinghouse receives any funds. CSSD must apply the funds to the arrears balance when the collection is received; however, CSSD may delay disbursing funds owed to the family for a period of 1 to 6 months to allow for other claims to be filed. Also, if tax refunds are received and a debt is owed to the District of Columbia, the debt owed to the District will be paid first per both federal and state requirements.