HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A new child support payment system is being implemented in the Palmetto State and it’s been in effect for about a week in Horry County and the Pee Dee.
Starting Sept. 1, those making child support payments will no longer be able to pay at their county clerk’s office.
For years, child support payments across South Carolina was a lengthy process done completely by hand. Just last week that all changed, thanks to a new computerized system.
It’s called the Palmetto Automated Child Support System (PACSS) and it replaces the prepaid debit card program throughout state. The long-awaited new system rolled out officially on June 3 in Horry, Florence, Dillon, Darlington and Marlboro counties.
It’s designed to make it easier for parents who don’t have custody to send money to the parents who do. Non-custodial parents now have additional payment options, including credit card and Money Gram.
Not only will the system’s payments be computerized, but family court systems will be able to access and see updates to cases. The PACSS system also makes it easier for other states to get payments to South Carolina.
The S.C. Department of Social Services and clerk of court offices across the state began phasing in the new system back in October. Horry County Clerk of Court Renee Elvis said so far the transition has been great.
“It’s going to be wonderful for the families because they’re going to have a larger database in order to find the parents, the non-custodial parents, that owe this money, and then that way when these people get jobs, they’re going to base it on their security number and when they get jobs, they can find these people and take that money and pay these babies. So we’re really excited; we just think it’ll be better for everybody,” said Elvis.
PACSS will impact all support cases enforced in family court. Elvis said when it comes to family court in Horry County, at least 70 percent of the day is child support cases.
Currently, just over 9,400 cases transferred from the old system to the new system are active child support cases that are still accruing. In total, there’s nearly 33,000 cases in the child support system and they could include anything from attorney fees and alimony, to medical fees.
For those receiving payment, the clerk of court will no longer be issuing them. Instead, the new state disbursement unit will issue payments moving forward. Elvis said this change will relieve the state of over $150 million in penalties for not implementing the system.
“The biggest benefit I see is that it’s going to benefit the children because no one’s going to be left," she said. “If daddy pays or mommy pays, regardless how many children there are, they’re all going to get a portion of it.”
South Carolina is the last state in the country to comply with the federal changes made more than two decades ago. By Aug. 5, all counties throughout the state are expected to be in the new system.
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