The Nebraska Child Support Payment Center, a division of the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office, will move from 233 S. Tenth St. in Lincoln, a few blocks away to 421 S. Ninth St., early this autumn, State Treasurer Don Stenberg said today.
Treasurer Stenberg said the move is necessitated by the Lincoln Lancaster County Public Building Commission’s decision to vacate the building that had housed the Child Support Payment Center since it was established by state and federal law in 2001. The date of the move will be announced later.
The center, which is responsible for collecting and disbursing child support, became a division of the State Treasurer’s Office in 2000 in an interagency agreement with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Enforcement of non-custodial parents’ responsibilities for child support payments rests with DHHS and county attorneys.
“This new location is centrally located in downtown Lincoln and is well suited to the Child Support Payment Center’s scaled-down needs. It is a convenient location for non-custodial parents paying child support and is close to other governmental buildings,” Treasurer Stenberg said. “An attractive feature of the new location will be a secure, self-serve kiosk where child support payments can be made 24/7, 365 days a year, adding even more convenience for child support payers.”
The kiosk will be located in an inside lobby with security cameras. Metered parking will be available on Eighth and Ninth streets, and one handicapped parking stall will be reserved near the entrance to the building.
The new location on Ninth Street offers 5,500 square feet of space and is available to the Treasurer’s Office through a space allocation agreement with the State Building Division of the Nebraska Department of Administrative Services. The Child Support Payment Center occupies 7,000 square feet in its current location, but the smaller quarters better suits today’s streamlined operation that makes use of electronic payments and requires fewer employees.
In addition to the move, Stenberg announced that PayPal has been added as an option for parents paying child support. The Nebraska Child Support Payment Center is the first child support payment center in the country to accept payments through PayPal. PayPal is made available through Value Payment Systems, a payment service provider for government and education clients in more than 40 states. A 2.49 percent fee will be charged for payments processed through a user’s PayPal account.
Stenberg said greater reliance on the electronic transfer of money has enabled the center to reduce its workforce significantly in recent years. In 2001—when more than 85 percent of payments coming into the center were made by paper check—the center employed at least 60 staff members, working two shifts and supplemented at busy times with employees from other agencies. The staff now numbers 20.
Today 82 percent of all child support payments are received electronically—compared with 14.4 percent in 2002, the first full year of operation—and 98 percent of all child support payments are distributed electronically—compared with 41 percent in the beginning.
“The Nebraska Child Support Payment Center has been at the forefront of adapting technology to improve efficiency and security and to lower the cost of receiving and disbursing child support payments,” Stenberg said. He said the average cost to process one payment has dropped from $2.54 in 2002 to 96 cents today.
“We have been successful in encouraging non-custodial parents to submit payments electronically or through their employers and in making it possible for custodial parents to receive payments electronically as well, reducing the expense of paper, printing, postage, and staff time, and ensuring that families receive the money to which they are entitled quickly and seamlessly,” Stenberg said.
Troy Reiners, director, said the Nebraska Child Support Payment Center offers more options, by far, for paying child support than any other payment center in the country. PayPal is a welcome option for people without banking or checking accounts or people who maintain active PayPal accounts for making internet purchases, he said
Among the available payment options, in addition to PayPal, are PayNearMe, MoneyGram, Western Union, auto withdrawal, over the phone, through the website, and at the kiosk in the Lincoln center and in the entryway of the Douglas County District Court Clerk’s Office in Omaha. In addition to Nebraska’s two kiosks, payments also can be made at U.S. Payments’ PaySite kiosks at more than 450 locations in 30 states. Through PayNearMe, payments can be made at Family Dollar, 7-Eleven, Ace Cash Express and CVS Pharmacy. Additionally, a large number of payers continue to make payments through their employers.
“We are the leading child support center in the country in terms of payment options offered to payers. We offer more methods than any other center. This is important because when payers have multiple, convenient options to make their payments, they are more likely to pay and children are more likely to receive the financial support they need to live happy and healthy lives,” Reiners said. He said the Nebraska Child Support Payment Center processes payments from people living in every state and many foreign countries, as well as from payers serving in the U.S. military around the world.
Another new feature is the use of text messages to alert child support payers that their payments are due, Reiners said. From links on the text message, payers can access their billing statements and the center’s website landing page that displays the payment options. The use of text messaging has reduced the number of paper statements mailed to child support payers, saving the state as much as $15,000 a month in paper, postage, and processing. In the last 10 years, the center has reduced the number of paper billing statements mailed monthly from 76,000 to 5,000, he said.
Details about payment options are available at https://childsupport.nebraska.gov/ncp/.