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Child Support
Is The System Working?

The Story Of Dave From New York

This case involves the Erie County Child Support Enforcement Unit, New York ((716) 858-8309). The support-paying parent was ordered by the court to pay back child support at a rate of $50.00 per month. When the Erie County Child Support Collection Unit sent documentation for collection, the price had been increased by $181.00. The support paying parent attempted on several occasions to reach the Support Collection Unit, in total frustration, the documentation was handed to me to see what I could do to assist. Anyone who has not been involved with this process could never anticipate the frustration I was about to encounter.

An automated answering system answers the telephone indicating: “You have reached Erie County Office of Child Support, all lines are currently busy, our office hours are between 8:30 to 3:30,” shortly after a recorded message offering alternative telephone numbers for alternative offices, the same recorded female voice indicated, “please try again, thank you.” End of conversation, I think not, NO machine was going to diss me! I redialed the number, again and again, until a recorded male voice indicated that I should hold until the next customer service representative was available, I waited 45 minutes until a live person finally answered.

The live person indicated that they could not discuss this case with me, even though I had every piece of information necessary to assist the person in locating the file. The person also insisted that the support-paying parent should be taking care of his own problem. I reiterated the length of time I had spent dialing and redialing and waiting on hold, asking, "how is a parent suppose to solve a problem if they must work and this unit seemed unable to handle the telephone?" I became stern and adamant, indicating that I had "heard several complaints about that collection department." I also noted the telephone problems, the long wait on hold, and that I had used their FAX number to FAX the appropriate documentation showing the court order requesting $50.00 per month and the documentation from their office indicating a $181.00 difference. The person finally indicated: "our court order shows a different amount."

Since I could not seem to get anywhere locally, I emailed Governor Pataki, indicating the problems i had encountered. From there I located a telephone number for the Governor's Office (518-474-8390) I was transferred to the Child support unit. After explaining my frustrations, I was clearly and nicely informed that my call needed to be transferred to the person in charge of Erie County, who was busy on another line. The person I was speaking with informed me that while this person I needed to speak with would be unable to assist me with the problems encounter by the support paying parent, that person would be able to assist me with the telephone issue and would also assist me in making arrangements for the support paying parent to contact the office concerning the problems at hand. It was also indicated that I would probably need to wait until the next day to receive a response.

REACHING A LIVE PERSON!

I spoke to a wonderful person in Albany concerning the issues I had been addressed with in connection to the child support collection unit in New York State. While the man was restricted from discussing personal information, he did offer a generalized overview, involving laws and procedure. He was genuinely concerned with the overview I held of the system, he wants people to see the system as it is suppose to be, not as it presently is. He is addressing issues, and we will continue to converse on this topic, to assure the local problems are being addressed and revised.

The cooperation of the Albany representative does not answer the issues concerning the actual laws regarding child support but this will adress the problems persons have indicated exist within the Erie County, New York division of the New York State Child Support Enforcement Unit.

A confidential telephone conference has been scheduled to assist Dave with his problem.

Of course, this does not mean that everything has been resolved, as a matter of fact, the child support enforcement unit continues to harass Dave, making it impossible for him to work and still handle the matter.

Statute 413(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (c) of this subdivision, where the annual amount of the basic child support obligation would reduce the non-custodial parent’s income below the poverty income guidelines amount for a single person as reported by the federal department of health and human services, the basic child support obligation shall be twenty-five dollars per month or the difference between the non-custodial parent’s income and the self-support reserve, whichever is greater. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (c) of this subdivision, where the annual amount of the basic child support obligation would reduce the non-custodial parent’s income below the self-support reserve but not below the poverty income guidelines amount for a single person as reported by the federal department of health and human services, the basic child support obligation shall be fifty dollars per month or the difference between the non-custodial parent’s income and the self-support reserve, whichever is greater.

According to the Child Support Standards Chart the current self support reserve is $11, 961. The Child Support Guidelines Worksheet page 21 indicates a formula that shows this support-paying parent’s responsibility to be $81.47 per month, (based on current wages which are in access of 2001 earnings) with the additional $50.00 per month back child support the total monthly payment would be $131.47 or an annual payment of $1577.64, which puts the support paying parent just below the self support reserve.

Child Support

  1. Current Cases: Back Child Support

  2. Is The System Working?

  3. Caught in the Web

  4. Debate: New Child Support Laws

  5. Department of Social Services: Erie County, NY

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Page Last Updated: 6/15/2002
C 2002 L Munro