Local News

Parents, Lawmakers Seek Answers to Child Support Payment Backlog

Posted November 16, 1999

— Imagine not getting paid for nine weeks. That is the case for thousands of North Carolina parents who still are not receiving child support checks, even though the state says its new system is up and running.

Many parents who have not been paid, cannot even get answers when they call the child support office to track down their checks.

Lisa Koger is one of those people. She pays child support for one child, and receives it for another. Since the centralized system came online, no one in her family has received their checks.

"They're not caught up. There's no possible way. If they were I'd have my child support check," says Koger.

TheN.C. Department of Health and Human Servicesbriefedlegislatorson problems with the new centralized system Wednesday.

"I had eight phone calls yesterday. I don't know what to tell these people. You say you've had people working since October 8, [but] it's not getting any better... It's really not," says Sen. David Hoyle, D-Gaston County.

The Department of Health and Human Services reports that there are still about 5,800 checks totalling close to $1.3 million dollars which cannot be identified.

"If you are one of those people who haven't gotten your check, then obviously it is not fixed to you, and it's not fixed as far as we're concerned until we get all of that resolved," says State Child Support Director Barry Miller.

The state has a contract with Systems and Methods, Inc. to handle the collections. The company could be fined as much as $5,000 a day for not delivering what it promised.

State attorneys are looking into whether or not SMI violated the contract.

If you are a parent who needs help now, here are two new phone numbers to call:919-715-7539or(919) 715-7543.

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