This topic contains information on the following subjects:
Custodial parents (CPs) have the option of receiving their child support payments through direct deposit or through the “ncKIDScard” (debit card) program. When a CP requests direct deposit, payments from the noncustodial parent (NCP) are automatically deposited through EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) into the CP's designated bank account.
Direct deposit eliminates the possibility of lost or stolen checks and generally shortens the time required for CPs to receive payments. However, the processing time can be affected by the holidays.
Custodial parents (CPs) have the option of receiving their child support payments through direct deposit and should be informed of this option at the time of application, order establishment, and redirection of services. This option is available to CPs in both IV-D and Non-IV-D cases.
If an active direct deposit account exists, caseworkers must verify with the CP whether or not the bank account that was last updated in ACTS is currently the CP's active bank account. If it is not the CP's current bank account, caseworkers should immediately inactivate the bank account that is listed as active. (If the CP has multiple accounts with the same bank, CSS verifies that the account number in ACTS is still active with the bank.)
CPs must complete an Authorization For Automatic Deposit Of Child Support (DSS-4718) form. CPs can request that this form be mailed to them by contacting any county Clerk of Court, local CSS agency, or the CSS Central Office Customer Service Unit (at 1-800-992-9457.) They also can download an English or Spanish version of this document from the NC Department of Social Services web site: “http://www.ncdhhs.gov/dss/cse/eft.htm” or from the NC eChild Support website: “http://www.ncchildsupport.com”. This form includes instructions for submittal.
When completing the authorization form, CPs must specify the account number and routing code where their payments should be deposited. For checking accounts, CPs must attach a "VOIDED" check from the designated financial institution. Many banks offer a "debit card" account that can be used for direct deposit of child support payments. This service allows payees to withdraw the child support through an ATM after it is deposited. If payees have established a debit card account with their bank, their bank must attach another form of verification with the bank account number (not the debit card number) and bank transit number. Mail the form and attached materials to:
P.O. Box 19807
Raleigh, N.C. 27619
After receiving the completed Authorization For Automatic Deposit Of Child Support (DSS-4718) form from a custodial parent (CP), CSS Central Office EFT Unit workers create a direct deposit record for that CP. ACTS generates a "pre-note" transaction on the same day that the direct deposit record is created. These test transactions are sent to the designated financial institution in order to verify the routing and bank account numbers. The pre-note process takes ten (10) business days. During the pre-note period, the child support payments that are received are mailed as checks to the CP.
If the pre-note data is verified, future child support payments are deposited into the designated bank account that was provided. If EFT Unit workers receive notice that the pre-note data was not valid or that the account is not active, they verify that the information on the authorization form is the same information that was submitted to the financial institution and resubmit it, if necessary.
Just as with regular payments, the CP must have a valid mailing address record in ACTS, or the system places a “hold” on the CP’s participant account. This prevents any funds from being disbursed until a valid mailing address is entered in ACTS for the CP. Once the CP has a valid mailing address in ACTS, the system releases the "hold" and funds are deposited in the CP's bank account.
If the bank notifies the EFT Unit that an account has been closed or "frozen" or after the CP has notified CSS to cancel the direct deposit, payments are reissued as a paper check unless direct deposit can be set up again for the payee with the correct banking information. Payees might or might not decide to have direct deposit set up again.
Direct deposit only affects the manner in which payments are disbursed, not the manner in which payments are distributed. Just as with regular child support payments, the custodial parent (CP) must have a valid mailing address record in ACTS, even though payments are not being mailed to the CP. If the CP does not have a valid mailing address in ACTS, the system places a "hold" on the CP's participant account. This prevents any funds from being disbursed until a valid mailing address is entered for the CP. Once the CP has a valid mailing address in ACTS, the system releases the "hold" and the funds are deposited in the CP's bank account.
Direct deposit transmissions generally require a processing time of two (2) business days once the payment is disbursed from the CP's participant account. (EX: If a child support payment is disbursed from the CP's participant account on Monday, the payment is deposited into the CP's account on Wednesday.) However, the processing time can be longer than two (2) business days for smaller banks, and it can also can be affected by the holidays.
Upon the custodial parent's (CP’s) request, EFT Unit workers can change or terminate direct deposit transactions to financial institutions. CPs can request a change/termination for various reasons: a change in financial institution, a change in the bank account number, or the CP might want to cancel direct deposit processing.
Requests for changes or termination are submitted using the Authorization For Automatic Deposit Of Child Support (DSS-4718) form. This authorization form can be obtained by contacting the local CSS office or the CSS Central Office Customer Service Unit. CPs can download an interactive English or Spanish version for this form from the DSS website: "http://www.ncdhhs.gov/dss/cse/eft.htm" or from the NC eChild Support website: “www.ncchildsupport.com”.
If the request is to change the financial institution, the CP must submit a new authorization form with the "Bank Change" field marked and the new banking information. (If the bank account is a checking account.) Upon receipt, EFT Unit workers enter the changes in ACTS. ACTS sends a "pre-note" test transaction to verify the routing and bank account numbers. The pre-note process takes ten (10) business days.
If the authorization form is not submitted prior to bank account closure and a payment is submitted to the financial institution, the financial institution notifies the EFT worker of the closed account and refunds the payment submitted. Payments are mailed as checks to the CP. Upon receiving the authorization form, EFT Unit workers make the changes in ACTS, and ACTS sends the pre-note transaction.
If the request is to change the bank account number for deposit and NOT the financial institution, the CP submits a new authorization form with the "Bank Change" field marked and the new banking information. (A voided check should be attached if the new account is a checking account.) EFT Unit workers enter the new account information in ACTS, and ACTS sends a pre-note transaction to verify the routing and checking account numbers.
If the change notice is not received and a payment is sent to a closed
account, the financial institution notifies the EFT worker of the change in account numbers and deposits the child support payment in the new account. Some banks might return the funds; then an adjustment is made to reissue the funds to the new account.
If the request is to terminate direct deposit of child support payments, the CP must submit the Authorization form with the "Cancellation" box marked. The EFT Unit worker processes the termination in ACTS, which stops the direct deposit process and results in payments being mailed as checks to the CP.
For questions or clarification on any of the policy contained in these manuals, please contact your local county office.