Electronic payments begin for child support recipients and child care assistance providers.
Child support customers and child care providers who get state funding to serve low-income families may find it easier to secure their funds, thanks to a new debit card program introduced recently by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Department for Community Based Services.
DCBS has partnered with U.S. Bank to launch the ReliaCard Visa debit card. The card is available to child support recipients and child care providers whose clients include families benefiting from the state’s Child Care Assistance Program.
“Electronic payment helps customers have quicker access to their own money,” CHFS Secretary Mark D. Birdwhistell said. “I’m proud that our staff continues to implement improvements such as this that ease the process for Kentuckians served by our programs.”
Payments that previously arrived by check will be directly deposited into customers’ accounts. With the card, customers can withdraw cash or make purchases everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.
“The card makes it more convenient for our customers to access payments and reduces the possibility of a lost or stolen check,” said Tom Emberton Jr., acting undersecretary for Children and Family Services and commissioner of DCBS, the agency that oversees the divisions of child care and child support. Payments can be made faster, and check-cashing fees are eliminated, he said.
The cards save the state money as well, Emberton said. Electronic payments are easier to process and they eliminate the monthly cost of printing and replacing paper checks.
Clients will receive information about the transition by mail. Customers who don’t prefer the debit card may choose direct deposit into a personal bank account.
The Division of Child Care’s rollout began in August and included Boyle, Fayette and Owen counties. The statewide rollout was completed in October.
The Division of Child Support’s pilot began this fall, also in Boyle, Fayette and Owen counties. About 5,600 child support customers in those counties received letters giving them the debit card option. Child support recipients in the rest of the state will get the debit card option by March 2007.
Kentucky has about 35,000 child support customers currently receiving paper checks. Kentucky’s CCAP helps pay for child care needs of low-income families so parents can work, get job training or go to school. About 44,000 children are served every month by 4,700 providers.