OKLAHOMA CAPITOL – Parents and employers increasingly demand the same level of electronic sophistication from government that they use elsewhere. For the first time since Oklahoma began its online payment service in 2005, the contract has been awarded to a different company, bringing with it new opportunities and efficiencies.
The new vendor, Systems and Methods, Inc. (SMI), comes with years of experience in processing child support payments. SMI currently operates in eleven other states. In addition to online payments, the vendor was awarded the contract for the State Disbursement Unit (SDU) which processes all incoming payments from parents and employers for Oklahoma Child Support Services. The prior SDU contract holder had operated the SDU for Oklahoma since its inception in 1999.
In 2012, parents and employers in Oklahoma are making more than 3,000 child support payments each month safely and securely via the web. The new website is ok.smartchildsupport.com and requires users of the former site as well as new users to register. The former online payment portal was de-activated last week and had not accepted new users since October.
In terms of ease, online payment of child support is second only to electronic funds transfer, or EFT. Online payment of child support offers additional advantages to parents and employers including:
• Less expense and more convenience than mailing paper checks
• Easier management when entering transactions into payroll or home budgeting software
• More safeguards and security
• Same-day payment confirmation
In addition to payments for current support orders, parents and employers frequently make large lump sum payments for past-due support.
“OCSS receives large lump sum payments almost every day,” said Jeff Wagner, a spokesperson for Oklahoma Child Support Services. “Making an online payment gives the payer a receipt instantly, making it safer and faster than dropping a check in the mail.”
“We hope our new online payment experience will encourage more parents and employers to make child support payments electronically,” Wagner said. “When compared to mailing paper checks, it is better for the payer and less expensive for Oklahoma taxpayers.”
To learn more about how to make online payments work for you, or for more information about Oklahoma Child Support Services, call 1-800-522-2922, Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or visit www.okdhs.org (Link opens in new window) and select “Child Support.”
Oklahoma Child Support Services is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. To promote healthy families, OCSS 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 more than $339 million in the last year on behalf of children and families.