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Child Support Report Features Configuring Payroll Systems for Accuracy

BY: Alice P. Jacobsohn, Esq. | 11/08/21

Configuring Payroll Systems is Key” written by APA member Beverly J. Wooten is featured in the October edition of the Child Support Report, a monthly e‑newsletter published by the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE). Wooten is also a member of APA’s Government Relations Task Force (GRTF) Child Support and Garnishments Subcommittees.

“It’s been said that your payroll software is only as smart as the one who does the programming,” Wooten said. But what does that mean for payroll professionals responsible for managing child support? “We go through our daily routine of processing garnishments and assume that the system is calculating and deducting the correct amounts … until it doesn’t,” warned Wooten.

If you are managing child support, you need to know about your system’s configuration. “Always begin by reviewing the initial data entry,” Wooten explained. This means an understanding of the applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. A state may define disposable earnings as gross wages minus employment taxes and medical insurance, which may seem simple for a payroll professional. A programmer could configure the system to deduct pet insurance from gross income if medical insurance is not explained. The key is for payroll professionals to guide programmers.

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Alice P. Jacobsohn, Esq., is Director of Government Relations for the APA.