Child Support Payment Information - Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services Child Support Services Division
Instructions Frequently Asked Questions Glossary
Frequently Asked Questions

1. A payment was posted to my case several weeks ago but I have not received a check. What should I do?
If a check has been lost, you must wait 15 days from the date the check was issued before notifying the CSSD. If you would like a replacement check, you must complete and return the necessary paperwork to the CSSD. You can obtain the paperwork by contacting the Regional office that handles your case.

2. Can I have my child support check deposited directly into my bank account?
Yes, the CSSD can deposit your child support payment directly into your bank account. This is known as Direct Deposit or Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). Direct deposit is safe and confidential as your money goes directly to your account. Your payments cannot be lost or stolen and fewer people will handle your money. Direct deposit is convenient, as you no longer have to go to your bank to cash or deposit your check. If you would like to enroll, please contact the CSSD office that currently handles your case to obtain an Authorization for Direct Deposit.

3. I am making payments toward my child support debt and you intercepted my income taxes. Why?
The CSSD must enforce qualified support arrears through a process known as "federal offset" or simply, the interception of federal tax returns. This is required by federal law. This process is used for all qualifying cases regardless if support payments are being made toward the debt.

State law and CSSD policy require the same process to be used in regard to state taxes.

4. My child support order states that the parent is to pay support on the first of every month. Why does the CSSD allow the entire month to pay?
The majority of child support collected by the CSSD is done so through income withholding. By law, an employer is allowed to withhold child support based on its payroll periods, which may be weekly, biweekly, twice a month or monthly. The employer will normally prorate the monthly obligation and withhold an appropriate amount from each paycheck. Payments are to be forwarded to the CSSD within 7 working days of the date the employee is paid.

5. What happens if the parent is paying child support for multiple cases?
When CSSD receives a payment, the payment is prorated to current support in all cases to which the parent owes. Prorated means the payments are divided among the noncustodial parent's orders based on the amount due for each order. After current support has been met, if there is additional money left, it will be applied equally between any arrears owed in the cases.

6. How much does the CSSD withhold from a parent's wages?
The maximum amount withheld from a parent's wages cannot exceed the maximum amount permitted under the Consumer Credit Protection Act. To meet this provision, the CSSD limits the collection of its Orders to Withhold Income to 50% of aggregate disposable earnings. Therefore, if a parent is not earning enough income to meet the amount of the withholding order, the employer is instructed to withhold only 50% of the net income earned.

7. What happens if the employer/payor is not honoring a CSSD Income Withholding Order?
If an employer/payor fails to withhold income as ordered they can be held liable for both the accumulated amount that should have been withheld from the employee's income and any employer civil contempt penalties set by Montana law.

In addition, the CSSD can compel an employer/payor's compliance with the order by administrative suspension of the employer/payor's state issued licenses, or by taking action against the employer/payor in district court.

8. Can the CSSD withhold unemployment insurance benefits?
Under federal law, the CSSD works with the Department of Labor and Industry to withhold child support payments from unemployment insurance benefits.

9. Once a payment is received by the CSSD, how long before I receive my child support?
It is the goal of the CSSD to receive and process all payments the same day. Once a payment is receipted and processed, a check is written and mailed to the family (or other applicable payee such as a child support agency of another state) the following business day. When there are state and federal holidays, payments are delayed by the holiday and will take an extra day or so to reach the family.

10. When does the State keep payments made on my case?
If you are currently on assistance and receiving a cash grant, any child support received to pay a current obligation will be retained by the state. In addition, if you received assistance in the past, federal tax offsets will apply to the unreimbursed assistance and will be retained by the state.

11. Can I pay my child support with a credit card?
Credit card payments are only accepted for lump sum settlements to pay off the arrears. In this instance, the CSSD accepts VISA and MASTERCARD. Otherwise, the CSSD does not accept credit card payments to pay the current monthly support obligation.

12. Can I negotiate a settlement of my child support debt?
Yes. The CSSD has authority to settle debts involving Montana TANF (formerly AFDC) and foster care arrearages and medical fines. If your child support obligation is owed to another state as TANF or foster care arrearages, Montana will defer to the other state or agency to settle arrearages owed to them. In Non-TANF cases in which the support obligation is owed directly to the custodian, the CSSD cannot negotiate, settle or compromise a support debt without the approval of the individual who is owed the support.

13. How can I make sure I receive my child support payment as quickly as possible?
You can make sure the CSSD has your correct address. If you move, immediately provide your change of address to the caseworker handling your case so that this information can be entered into the CSSD computer system.

14. How do I update information about myself or another participant on my case? (Example: name, address, employer, etc.)?
You can provide updated information about yourself, or another party to your case, by contacting the Regional office that handles your case.

15. Which regional office do I contact about my case?
Cases are assigned to one of the five CSSD regional offices according to the county of residence for the custodial parent, or if applicable, third party custodian.

Address, telephone, and fax information for the regional office that currently handles your case is located on the Child Support Payment Information screen. You can access this screen by returning to the home page and submitting your social security number and CSSD case number.

16. Can I have the amount of my child support order reviewed for an increase or decrease through the CSSD?
The CSSD offers a modification service, so long as we have an open case and we have the necessary jurisdiction to modify the order. Jurisdiction is determined on a case-by-case basis. To determine whether the support order can be modified, the order must be at least 36 months old OR a substantial change in circumstance must have occurred. You can submit a request for modification to the Regional office that handles your case.

17. Who can apply for child support services through the CSSD?
Any person who has physical custody of a child or any party owing support can apply for child support services. If the current physical custodian of a child receives public assistance, certain types of medical assistance, or day care assistance, the CSSD is required by law to have an open case.

18. I got a check for $100. I don't know what it is or if it came from the public assistance office or CSSD.
CSSD is not involved with the TANF pass-through payments. Please contact your eligibility technician at the public assistance office.