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Employment and Income Verification
and Santa Barbara County Department of Child Support Services invites
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Overview for Employers
Experience shows the most reliable method for transferring Child Support between parents is through employer wage withholding. For this reason, the law requires Child Support Services to notify the parent's employer of the existence of a Child Support order, except in the rare case that both the mom and the dad agree in their court order to handle it privately. The fact that the employer is required by law to withhold wages is never an indication of an employee's lack of cooperation with Child Support.
Depending on the location of the children requiring Child Support, employers may receive an Income Withholding Order (IWO)/Notice of Support or National Medical Support Notice (NMSN) from Child Support Services located in their county, another county, or another state or country. These documents are often very large, and give detailed information about the employer's responsibilities for collecting and disbursing income withholding or enrolling the children in the company's health insurance plan.
For information regarding the employer's role and responsibilities, subscribing to the periodic employer newsletter, and viewing a calendar of employer events, see the California Department of Child Support Services' DCSS Employer Resource Center. Additional information can also be found at the Child Support Directors Association of California's CSDA Employer Information.
*NOTE: The information throughout this website is intended to provide general information only. Nothing contained in this website should be construed as legal advice.
Income Withholding Orders (IWO)
When Child Support Services serves your company with an IWO, you must withhold the amount stated in the IWO from the employee's paycheck. However, if the amount is more than 50% of the employee's net disposable earnings, you should only withhold 50% of the employee's earnings. You also have the option to receive and respond to the IWO electronically by registering and enrolling as an Electronic Income Withholding Order (e-IWO) portal employer.
You must send the money directly to the State Disbursement Unit (SDU) at:
California State Disbursement Unit
P.O. Box 989067
West Sacramento, CA 95798
The SDU will send the money to either a state agency or the custodial party.
You must honor the IWO as long as the employee remains employed. Self-employed noncustodial parents are still required to deduct the child support amount from their wages as indicated in the IWO.
Electronic Income Withholding Orders
To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the IWO process, California now offers an Electronic Income Withholding Order (e-IWO) option to participating employers, at no cost to you.
The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), in partnership with the states, employers, and payroll-related organizations, developed and maintains a centralized Internet "Portal" that enables states and employers to easily and securely exchange e-IWO documents and files.
Benefits to you include:
- Reduced administrative expenditures, e.g., paper, postage
- Reduced processing and handling costs
- Improved communication
- Receipt of withholding information in a consistent and uniform format
The e-IWO process allows us to transmit IWOs to you electronically; and it allows you to electronically acknowledge whether you accept or reject the IWO. For example, you can use the acknowledgment to notify us that an employee no longer works for you.
For more information about the e-IWO project, visit Employers Service e-IWO on the OCSE website.
For registration information, please contact the OCSE e-IWO Coordinator directly.
National Medical Support Notice
The National Medical Support Notice (NMSN) acts as a court order requiring the employer (or other entity providing health insurance) to enroll the employee's child in the employer's health insurance plan. The NMSN authorizes the employer to deduct the cost of the health insurance premium from the employee's earnings. The NMSN also instructs the employer to notify us of any lapse or change in the employee's health insurance coverage.
The employer is responsible for enforcing the NMSN. If the employer fails to enroll the employee's child in the health insurance plan (and provide us with coverage details), the employer may be subject to sanctions or penalties.
The employer must notify us if the employer does not offer health insurance coverage to employees or if an employee is not eligible for the coverage.
The employer must notify us within 10 business days of termination or cancellation of health insurance coverage.
Processing the National Medical Support Notice
Parents are required to provide medical insurance coverage (health, dental, and vision) for their children if coverage is available to them at no cost or a reasonable cost. Effective January 1, 2011, cost of insurance is considered reasonable if the cost for the child(ren) does not exceed 5% of the parent's gross income. The cost for the children is the difference between self-only coverage and family coverage. The total cost of the insurance coverage and the cash support withheld may not exceed 50% of the employee's net disposable earnings. "Cash support" includes the monthly Child Support amount and any Medical or Spousal Support.
Employers have strict deadlines to comply with the NMSN.
- Within 10 business days of receipt of the NMSN, the employer must: (1) notify the employee of the NMSN, (2) provide the employee with a copy of the NMSN and (3) provide the employee with a blank Request and Notice of Hearing Regarding Health Insurance Assignment.
- Within 20 business days of receipt of the NMSN, the employer must forward the NMSN to the designated health insurance plan administrator. On verification of enrollment, the employer must complete the Medical Insurance Form (DHS 6110) and return it to us. Paycheck deductions should begin within the first 30-day period after receiving the NMSN.
- Within 40 business days, the employer must provide us with:
- A description of the coverage available
- The effective date of the coverage
- A summary plan description
- Any forms or documents
- Any information necessary to submit claims for benefits
Dental and Vision Insurance
The employee's child should be enrolled in dental and vision insurance if it is available through the employer at a reasonable cost.
Effective January 1, 2011, medical coverage is defined as accessible if the coverage provides services within 50 miles of the supported child's residence.
Medical Insurance Cards
Employers must assist the custodial party (CP) in obtaining all materials necessary to access the health care coverage. This includes all medical insurance cards and claim forms. If the employee fails or refuses to provide the CP with the medical card or other necessary forms, the employer should obtain the documents directly from the employee or the health care provider and forward them to the CP or to us so that we can provide them to the CP.
The employer should include a copy of the NMSN Parts A and B when requesting the medical insurance cards from the health insurance provider. We are available to assist employers that are unable to obtain medical insurance cards. For assistance, please Contact Us.
Employee Refuses to Enroll
Health insurance enrollment is court ordered. As a condition for the child's enrollment in the health insurance plan, the employer may require the employee to enroll. If the employee refuses to cooperate, then the employer may enroll the child without the employee's assistance. On the signature line of the enrollment forms the employer should write, "Per court order - copy attached." The employer or employee may Contact Us to discuss the cost of enrolling both the employee and the child.
- Employers must report all newly hired and rehired employees to the California Employment Development Department.
- The employer should immediately notify us when an employee with a child support order is no longer employed.
- Employers may not fire or take disciplinary action against an employee or refuse to hire a person because of an Income Withholding Order (IWO) or a National Medical Support Notice (NMSN).
- Employers are required by law to respond to our requests for information about an employee's salary.