OKLAHOMA CAPITOL – New Hire Reporting is up and Unemployment Insurance Benefits collections are down within the child support caseload according to a report announced today by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. For the more than 200,000 families in Oklahoma child support cases, unemployment in December was down almost 41% from its high in January 2010 while the number of people finding new jobs last month was up by one-third from just a year prior.
“It is the best possible outcome for families when both numbers move like this,” said Jeff Wagner, spokesperson for the agency. “When the number of new hires goes up and the number of people collecting unemployment goes down, it can mean only one thing: more Oklahomans are getting jobs and getting off of unemployment.”
Oklahoma Child Support Services, a division of OKDHS, first pointed to signs of economic recovery after a spike in child support collections in January 2011. The spike became a trend for 2011, and OCSS was able to collect and distribute $17 million more last year than in 2010, setting a state record for annual collections.
Employers are required by law to enter new hires and rehires of full-time, part-time and contract workers into a registry at the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission within 20 days of the hire date. That data is then transmitted to the National Directory of New Hires.
In Oklahoma, New Hire Reporting helps OCSS more quickly locate parents who owe child support, establish new child support orders, enforce and modify existing orders, and collect child support payments from employee wages. Employers receive orders to withhold income from employee wages for child support and health insurance premiums for medical support.
“Employers are essential partners in the child support process,” Wagner said. “Approximately 70% of all child support collections are remitted by Oklahoma employers each month.”
New hire data is also used by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission to detect and prevent overpayments and fraudulent claims for unemployment insurance benefits. Additionally, OKDHS uses this data to review public assistance records for any potential misuse of taxpayer dollars. Overpayments are recovered and returned to the government.
Unemployment Insurance Benefits data is also matched between OCSS and the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, ensuring that individuals use their unemployment benefits to support their families.
Employers can report new hires and rehires online at www.ok.gov/oesc (Link opens in new window). Employee terminations are reported separately at OCSS.Contact.ESC@okdhs.org. For more information, including a training video on New Hire Reporting, go to http://www.okesc.org/ or call the OCSS Employer Services Center at 1 (866) 553-2368, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
To promote healthy families, Oklahoma Child Support Services establishes, monitors and enforces reliable support while encouraging self-sufficiency and strengthening relationships. The division is responsible for more than 203,000 active child support cases, collecting $317 million last year on behalf of children and families.