New Year, New Changes and Training for the SDU

By: Kristy Hartmann, CA DCSS

Important changes to the collection and processing of child support payments by the State Disbursement Unit (SDU) are coming up! By April 20, 2020, the changes will reach beyond the California Department of Child Support Services (CA DCSS) and local child support agencies to the parents in the child support program. Parents will be able to benefit from the updated features of the Electronic Payment Card (EPC) Program, which includes new chipped bank cards, lower fees, and companion cards which allow parents to transfer money into the bank account attached to the card and give to another person to use.

With the go-live date just around the corner, it is imperative that CA DCSS and local child support agency staff receive proper training to understand the new processes of the SDU. Two training cycles will be available in Child Support University (CSU) in early 2020: Cycle 1 (from January 14-February 3) will go over the new EPC program, timelines for moving customers from the old to the new debit card program, new features and fees, ExpertPay for all debit card payments, credit card payments for employers through ExpertPay, and changes to the SDU ePayment link; Cycle 2 in March will cover changes to KidStar, SDU ePortal (the SDU payment website) including two-factor authentication for customers, and imaging for correspondence into the Child Support Enforcement database and KidStar. Following each cycle will be Question and Answer webinars via WebEx so that everyone can ask questions and gain clarity on all the changes. You should have received the link to the CSU modules and webinars from CA DCSS Statewide Training in early January.

Educating all stakeholders, internal and external, is key to making the SDU transition successful. With such an aggressive timeline, CA DCSS Project Managers Ryna Stephenson, Mike Dorsey, and Mark Rogers are partnering with various divisions and branches at CA DCSS, including Operations, Technology Services, and Statewide Training. A group of subject matter experts from county and regional offices have been working with the SDU/DCSS Transition team to address customer service and end user impacts. Educating parents about how the transition will affect them is crucial. Emails regarding ExpertPay will be sent in February to parents paying child support and employers. Emails will also be sent in January and February to persons receiving support who have a invalid address in the EPC program to update their address, and Notice of Change letters will be sent in March.

“We are excited to bring the new contract benefits to our customers in April. We think they will like the new ExpertPay payment option and the added EPC features along with the lower fees,” Ryna Stephenson said.

For questions regarding the SDU transition, please contact Ryna Stephenson at Ryna.Stephenson@dcss.ca.gov or Nitisha Gilra at Nitisha.Gilra@dcss.ca.gov.

For questions regarding training, please contact the DCSS Statewide Training Branch at StatewideTraining@dcss.ca.gov.