Regardless of pandemic and household courtroom closures, youngster help collections up in SC in 2020

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — Officials with the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) said over $340 million in child support was collected during federal fiscal year 2020. A 13% increase compared to 2019.

Despite the pandemic and prolonged family court closures, officials credit an automated system put in place in 2019 for the increase.

Wendy Chester Program Coordinator for he Child Support Services Division said the state agency established the Palmetto Automated Child Support System (PACSS) two years ago.

Chester said, “It has standardized and automated most collection methods we have and enforcement remedies. Most effective through the pandemic were the tax offset and unemployment benefit intercept.”

She said the average child support payment per household in South Carolina is around $300 a month.

According to DSS, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that nearly 22 million children in the country have an absent parent in the home, and the poverty rate for these children is about three times higher than it is for children in households with both parents. Officials said the Child Support program operated by SCDSS helps mitigate that in a number of ways.

DSS said in March 2021, a new online customer portal was launched as part of PACSS where users can view latest payment information and any upcoming hearings, update personal information, make online payments, and have access to applications for services.

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