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Child Support Frequently Asked Questions

Common Terms and Acronyms

DCSS: Division of Child Support Services
CP: Custodial Parent, the adult that has legal custody of the child(ren)
NCP: Non-Custodial Parent, the parent obligated to pay child support
SDU: State Disbursement Unit- the organization that processes child support payments
Paternity: The legal relationship between a father and child
Obligor: The person who owes support (NCP/Non-Custodial Parent)
Obligee: The person who receives child support (CP/Custodial Parent)
TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
Pass-through: Money which may be paid to CPs who are receiving TANF
VAP: Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity—a form, that when signed by both the mother and the alleged biological father, establishes paternity. The biological father’s name is allowed on the child’s birth certificate
Administrative Appeal: a written request made by the custodial or non-custodial parent for an administrative hearing on an action taken by DCSS. These appeals are heard separate from HFS by the Bureau of Administrative Hearings

“The following Frequently Asked Questions involve questions submitted to DCSS in cases receiving IV-D services and are not intended to be meant as legal advice.”

Enrolling in Child Support Services / General Information

1. What does child support services do?

Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) can establish paternity for your child, locate the non-custodial parent, obtain/modify a child support order, send an income withholding notice to the non-custodial parent’s employer for payroll deduction, deduct support from unemployment insurance benefits, send a medical support notice to enroll dependent(s) in health insurance coverage.

DCSS also can use the following methods to collect past due child support: Intercept federal and/or state tax refunds, deny a passport requested by the delinquent non-custodial parent, suspend/revoke the delinquent non-custodial parent’s professional and/or recreational license, suspend the delinquent non-custodial parent’s driver’s license, report the delinquent non-custodial parent to credit bureaus, place a lien on the delinquent non-custodial parent’s finances/real estate/personal property.

2. How do I enroll?

You can enroll online, or by completing the PDF version of the application. You also can visit your local regional office or call the child support call center.

3. Are child support services through DCSS automatic when I get child support awarded to me in court?

No. Our services are not automatically provided unless you are receiving TANF services from the Department of Human Services. If you would like to apply, please see the question above “How do I enroll?”

4. Do I have to have child support services if I am receiving TANF or All Kids?

If you are receiving TANF, you must cooperate with child support to receive full TANF benefits. If your children are receiving medical services through All Kids, you will be sent a questionnaire offering child support services automatically, but you do not have to use the service.

5. What is Paternity?

Paternity is a legal relationship between a father and his child. Paternity must be legally established before any financial child support order can be obtained.

6. How do I establish paternity? What if I am not the father?

If a legal order for paternity has been established, you will need to seek legal advice.

Child Support Payment Questions

1. How do you get child support payments from my employer?

An income withholding order is sent to the employer, telling them the appropriate amount to withhold from each paycheck, no matter how often you are paid. The State Disbursement Unit processes the payment.

2. Can I make payments to the CP instead of through my paycheck?

No, paying through income withholding is the law.

3. How do I get a copy of my payment history?

You can print this, by year, from your online account case information through our website, however this verification is not a legal document that can be used in court proceedings as the balances are not certified. You also may call the DCSS Call Center to request a copy of your payment history.

4. What if the NCP is working for cash?

If this is the case, DCSS will not be able to obtain child support payments through income withholding. The NCP will need to pay the support via one of our payment methods indicated on our website.

5. Who do I contact if I have questions about income withholding, or medical insurance that has been ordered?

Our income withholding division can address these questions. Please call them at 1- 888-245-1938.

6. The NCP isn’t working

Despite the employment status, child support still must be paid. Billing statements with payment information are sent to the NCP each month.

7. The NCP moved out of state

DCSS can collect child support even if the NCP resides in another state. DCSS works cooperatively with other states to enforce child support orders. If you have a new address or employment information for the NCP, please supply this information through your online account on the website, by contacting the call center at 1-800-447-4278, or by calling 1-888-245-1938.

8. How do I make child support payments?

If you are working, report your employment information to DCSS. The child support will be withheld directly from your paycheck, or check our website for more payment options.

9. I paid the CP directly. How do I get credit?

You will need to provide documentation of payments (money orders, copies of both sides of checks, or printouts of Venmo or other online payment methods) to your local regional office.

10. The custodial parent canceled her child support case. Why is child support still being withheld from my paycheck?

If your child support order was issued in court, the income withholding will need to be addressed with the court. DCSS services may have been canceled, but the order to pay child support continues.

11. I pay my child support, but the CP won’t let me see the child(ren), can you help?

DCSS does not assist parents with any visitation related inquires. Any assistance needed on this matter would have to be discussed with an attorney of your choosing.

12. I’m receiving Social Security. Do I still have to pay child support?

If you are receiving SSA or SSD, yes. We will garnish your payments from Social Security to pay your child support obligation. However, your child may be eligible for a Social Security Dependent Allotment (SSDA), which is paid directly to the CP. In this case, the amount of this allotment is applied to your support obligation. If the SSDA is greater than the child support amount ordered, you no longer will have support withheld from your Social Security payments.


If you are receiving SSI, you do not have to pay child support. However, if you obtain part-time employment, this still can be garnished.

13. Do I need to attend a child support hearing?

You will receive a letter that will state whether it is mandatory for you to attend your court appearance.

14. The child was adopted. Why do I still have to pay child support?

Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, your current child support obligation ends the effective date of the adoption. However, if there was a balance due on the case at the time of the adoption, you must continue to pay until the balance is satisfied. DCSS will require a copy of the order of adoption.

Non-Payment of Child Support

1. The NCP is not making payments

DCSS continues to track balances and will add a delinquent amount to any future income withholding until the past due support is caught up. DCSS also will use special collections options to obtain child support. These options include: federal and state tax offsets, comptroller offsets, bank liens, property liens, lawsuit/settlement liens, driver’s license suspension, hunting/fishing license suspension, professional license suspension, passport denial/revocation, offset of lottery and/or casino winnings, reporting to credit monitoring agencies, and submittal to the delinquent parent website.

2. Can the NCP be jailed for not paying child support?

DCSS does not jail for non-payment of child support. A judge has the authority to grant a request for jail time.

3. What is the Notice of Intent to Pursue Collection Remedies (HFS 2766)?

This is a letter sent to NCP’s that are behind in their child support payments. The letter details the remedies that may be put into place to collect on the past due child support.

4. What are the criteria for special collections to start?

DCSS cannot share this information for the collection remedies to remain effective. If the criteria were made public, the NCP might stay under the benchmark and make it harder to collect past due child support.

Child Support Case Balance

1. How can I get the balance on my case?

If you have an active child support case in which DCSS is assisting, you can obtain your balance by logging into your case on our website, or you can call the child support call center, or visit your local regional office.

2. How do I request an account review?

Send a written request to the Data Gathering Unit (DGU). Be sure to include the information below, as well as payment ledgers and any other documentation to support your claim. 

Data Gathering Unit (DGU)

P.O. Box 19152

Springfield, IL 62794

Include the following in your letter and on each supporting document:

Your name

Your Social Security Number

The other parent’s name

The child support case number (this usually begins with the letter C)


Support order, including the docket number

3. How long will my account review take?

Each case is unique, so no timetable can be provided. Account review requests are worked in the order in which they are received. Please allow at least 90 days before calling the child support call center for status.

4. I disagree with the results of the account review done on my case

To appeal a decision of the Department, you must submit a written request for a hearing to DCSS within the specified time frame as stated in the notice. When appealing the amount of child support owed, you must include copies of documents to support your request. Mail your appeal request to:

Appeals/Offset Unit - Attn: Administrative Hearing Request

Division of Child Support Services

Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services

P. O. Box 19152

Springfield, IL 62794-9152

5. What does “Owed to the state” mean?

This means that the State, or an Agency of the State, is entitled to receive these payments pursuant to the law.

Child Support Orders

1. What is a child support order?

A child support order is a legal document stating how much, how often, and for how long a parent must pay child support. It also establishes paternity and may establish which parent must provide medical insurance.

2. How do I get a copy of my order?

If your order was issued in court, you should call the circuit clerk in the county where your order was issued. For administrative orders, complete and mail the Request for a Certified Copy of the Administrative Support Order form.

3. What if I don’t have an order for child support?

DCSS can help you get an order established. You also may obtain one on your own through court.

4. Do you have my child support order?

You can check through your online services account to see if your order is on file for enforcement by DCSS or you can call the child support call center at 1-800-447-4278.

5. How do I send you a copy of my child support order?

You can hand-deliver or fax a copy of the order to your local regional office

6. The support order on your website does not match what I have

You will need to send DCSS your order.  You can do this by faxing, mailing, or delivering that order to your regional office

7. What is the difference between an administrative and judicial order?

A judicial order is issued by the court. An administrative order is issued by DCSS.

8. Can I change my order from administrative to judicial?

Yes. You can request that your order be reviewed and issued by a judge in court.

9. I received a new court order, did the court send it to child support?

New orders are not generally sent to DCSS by the court. To ensure we have a copy of the new order, you should fax or hand-deliver a copy to your regional office.

Child Support Modifications

1. I’m not working. Does my child support stop?

No, not until your order is modified by the court. You may request this yourself at the circuit clerk of the county where your order was issued, or by calling us. Payments should continue to be made while awaiting modification.

2. My income decreased. Will you automatically lower my child support?

This does not happen automatically. You must request a modification, either through the circuit clerk or through us.

3. How do I request a modification?

By calling the child support call center, visiting your local regional office, or seeking a modification independently through the court system.

4. The non-custodial parent is making more money. How do I get more child support?

You must request a modification,  either through the Circuit Clerk or through us.

For more information on modifications, click here


Note:  offsets will apply to balances owed the state first before being sent to the CP

1. When am I going to receive the NCP’s tax refund?

Depending on the status of the filing, and per IRS guidelines, offsets may be held automatically for a period of 30 days, and up to 6 months.

2. How much will I receive from the NCPs tax refund?

DCSS cannot share this amount until the payment is on the way to you, as it is subject to adjustment.

3. How will I receive the NCPs taxes?

The taxes are sent to you via check from the Comptroller. There are no other options to receive these funds.

4. I received a notice of overpayment from the Department of the Treasury. What does this mean?

The overpayment, or refund, is the amount of federal taxes withheld from your paycheck, which amounted to more than you owed. Since you are past due in child support, this amount is being sent to HFS for repayment of the amount you owe.

Canceling Child Support Services

1. Can NCPs cancel child support services?


2. How do I cancel my child support case with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services?

If you are not receiving TANF, and there is no money due to the State of Illinois, you can visit your local regional office to request cancelation. You can also contact the child support call center at 800.447.4278.

3. I canceled my child support case, but child support is still being withheld from the NCPs paychecks.

Income withholding is due to the child support order, not as the result of child support services. If your order was issued in court, you (the CP) will need to have the child support order addressed in court to cease the withholding. If your child support order was issued administratively, you (the CP) must supply your local regional office with a handwritten request to stop the income withholding or contact the child support call center.

Interest on Child Support

1. What is the 1099 INT?

The interest paid on past due child support is considered income and taxable by the IRS. Questions related to IRS policy should be directed to the IRS.

2. Why is interest charged for child support?

A Supreme Court Decision held that interest is mandatory effective with the passage of Public Act 85-2 (May 1, 1987). The interest rate on Illinois orders for child support that is more than 30 days past due is charged interest at .0075 (9% annually).

3. How do I know if the interest on my case was court ordered?

This would be indicated on your court order

4. Is there a new law about paying child support interest?

Effective Jan. 1, 2021, DCSS no longer calculates interest, establishes interest, or enforces interest if it has not been presented to and ordered by the court. Effective on this date, DCSS no longer be establishes interest in every case. Interest will only be established and/or enforced for participants meeting the criteria contained in 89 Illinois Administrative Code Section 160.89. However, you still may be required to pay interest. The law does not change that interest can be charged or how it accrues, but the Department will no longer enforce it unless an amount of interest is ordered by the court.

5. Why do I still have to pay interest?

If the court has ordered an interest amount to be paid as part of the child support order you would be required to pay this amount.

6. Can I get interest on my case court ordered?

An opportunity to request interest adjudication, through the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, will be available at the end of your case. The youngest child on the case must be emancipated. The principal balance on the case must be paid in full and a written request for adjudicated interest must be received by the Department within one year after meeting the above criteria.

7. Will I have an opportunity to request an adjudication of interest if I am applying for IV-D services after the emancipation of my youngest child?

You will have an opportunity to request adjudication of interest if the application for IV-D services and written request for interest, are received by the Department within a year of meeting the required criteria contained in 89 Illinois Administrative Code Section 160.89. If the application for IV-D services and written request for interest are received more than a year after meeting all of the required criteria, your request is not timely and the Department will be unable to assist in the adjudication of interest. However, the Department will enforce any interest order obtained by yourself or your attorney.


1. What is the age of emancipation in the State of Illinois?

A minor child emancipates at eighteen years of age. Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, the law provides that child support may be extended to include the period between the child’s 18th birthday and his/her date of graduation from high school, but not beyond the age of 19. Enforcement of child support may continue past emancipation for children determined to be permanently disabled.

2. Am I still eligible to receive unpaid child support after my child emancipates?

Yes.  As a part of our services, DCSS will continue to collect on the past due child support through income withholding and special collection remedies.

3. Can DCSS help me obtain a child support order while my child is attending college?

No. DCSS is unable to obtain or enforce this type of order. However, you are welcome to seek this type of support through court.