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PA Child Support Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Last modified on: December 18, 2021

Paternity
1. What is the purpose of the Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form?
The AOP form allows unmarried mothers and fathers to establish a legal parental relationship between a father and child.
2. Who completes the Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form?
An unmarried woman and biological father may complete an AOP form.
3. Will the father’s name be on the birth certificate if an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form is completed?
Once the AOP form is received, it will be verified for accuracy before being processed. Afterwards, the Department of Health, Division of Vital Records (DVR) is notified that paternity has been established and is provided with the father’s name to list on the birth certificate. If the birth certificate is issued without the father’s name, the AOP may not have been received prior to the printing of the birth certificate. Parents may request an updated birth certificate from DVR.
4. What last name will appear on the child’s birth certificate if an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form is completed?
The name of the child on the birth record will appear on the birth certificate. Completing an AOP form will not change a child's name on the birth certificate.
5. Who may witness signatures on an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form?
Any third party eighteen years of age or older can witness the parents signing the AOP form. The birth mother and father cannot witness each other’s signature. Doing so will make the form invalid. The form does not need to be notarized; however, there are criminal penalties for giving false information or statements on the form.
6. May a minor sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form without their parents' consent?
Yes, a minor may sign the AOP form without parental consent, although they are encouraged to speak with their parents or trusted adult for guidance. Their signature means they fully understand their rights, responsibilities, and obligations regarding the child. The AOP form should not be signed if they have any questions about being the parent or what the form means.
7. Can a married woman complete an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP)?
No. Only an unmarried woman may complete the AOP form.
8. What if the mother and/or father do not have a Social Security Number (SSN)?
A parent who does not have an SSN must sign the "No Social Security Number Declaration" on the back of the completed AOP form they mail to the Bureau of Child Support Enforcement.
9. Is a photocopy or faxed copy of the Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form acceptable?
No.
10. Will the Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form be accepted without the father's signature?
No.
11. How can paternity be established if the father will not or cannot complete the Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form?
If the father does not sign the AOP form, paternity must be established through the courts. The mother should apply for services through their local Domestic Relations Section and request paternity establishment services or consult with an attorney.
12. Does the Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form establish paternity if the mother cannot or will not sign it?
No, but the father can complete and sign the form so it may be registered and certified as a claim of paternity for the child. The father needs to provide the child’s information, father’s information and mother’s name. The form must be signed and witnessed. A claim of paternity does not give the father any rights to the child; however, the father is entitled to receive notice of proceedings terminating the mother’s parental rights to the child. The father should consult an attorney regarding his rights and possible course of action regarding establishing parental rights to the child.
13. Can the mother take the Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form home to complete at a later date?
Yes. The AOP form does not have to be completed at the time of the child’s birth. The mother and/or father may take the form home to complete at their convenience. For the Bureau of Child Support Enforcement to accept and process the form, it must be received prior to the child’s 18th birthday.
14. Where is the original Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form sent?
Department of Human Services
Bureau of Child Support Enforcement
AOP Program
P.O. Box 8018
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17105-8018
15. If I’m not sure who the biological father is, should I complete and sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form?
No, you should not complete the AOP form if you aren’t sure who the father is. The mother and/or father can go to the Domestic Relations Section and request paternity establishment through genetic testing.
16. What if the Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form is incomplete?
The Bureau of Child Support Enforcement will reject the form and send a letter with a new form to be completed. This will cause delays in receiving a birth certificate that includes the father's name.
17. What if the mother has multiple births?
A separate acknowledgment of paternity form must be completed for each child.
18. How long do the mother and father have to establish paternity?
The mother and father may establish paternity for the child up until the child’s 18th birthday.
19. Does the Bureau of Child Support Enforcement (BCSE) have a way to communicate with people who do not speak English?
Yes. BCSE provides translation and interpretation services for non-English speaking individuals. BCSE uses interpreters during telephone conversations between BCSE staff and non-English speaking individuals.
20. If I established paternity through the Domestic Relations Section, how will I receive a copy of the birth certificate listing the father’s name?
The Department of Health, Division of Vital Records (DVR) is responsible for releasing all birth certificates for children born in Pennsylvania. The parent(s) are advised to contact DVR at P.O. Box 1528, New Castle, Pennsylvania 16103-1528, or telephone (724) 656-3100 for additional information. You must tell DVR paternity was established through the court.
21. Can I obtain a certified copy of the Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form?
Yes. If the AOP form is registered and certified, you can request a certified copy of the AOP form by contacting the Bureau of Child Support Enforcement toll-free at 1-800-932-0211.
22. How can either the mother or father cancel the Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form?
The mother or father must submit a signed statement requesting the cancellation of the AOP action within 60 days of the date they signed the AOP form, or the date of a court proceeding relating to the child, whichever occurs earlier. An AOP form may only be challenged in court on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact.
23. How does a father who has a custody order, but has not established paternity, obtain a birth certificate with his name listed?
The father should contact the Division of Vital Records to request assistance in obtaining a birth certificate listing his name.

24. Why would a birth certificate be issued without the father’s name listed?
Title 23 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes §5103(i), provides that the name of the father shall be included on the birth record of the child of unmarried parents only if:
  • A father and mother have signed a voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form, or
  • A court or administrative agency of competent jurisdiction has issued an adjudication (judgment) of paternity.

If the Division of Vital Records does not receive notification that paternity was established by one of these methods, a birth certificate is issued without a father’s name.
25. What happens if the mother and father complete an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form and the father dies?
The Bureau of Child Support Enforcement will process the AOP, and the child may be eligible for Social Security benefits, insurance benefits, inheritance or estate distribution.
26. Can two women or two men complete the Acknowledgment of Paternity form?
No, they should contact an attorney.
27. Can a surrogate mother and biological father complete an Acknowledgment of Paternity form?
No, they should contact an attorney.
28. Who do I contact if I have further questions about the Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form?
For further questions and/or inquiries regarding the Pennsylvania Voluntary AOP Program, please call the Bureau of Child Support Enforcement at 1-800-932-0211. A Child Support Enforcement Specialist will be happy to assist you.
Child Support Orders
1. How is the amount of a support obligation determined for child(ren) and/or spouse?
Pennsylvania Courts of Common Pleas determine child support obligations based on the Pennsylvania Support Guideline. The Support Guideline is found in Rule 1910.16 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure. The guideline is based on the assumption that a child of separated or divorced parents should receive the same proportion of parental incomes as if the parents were together.
2. What can I do if I disagree with the child support order when it is established by the court?
An order of child support can only be changed by filing an appeal. This appeal must be filed within 20 days after the date the order is received or the date of the order, whichever occurs first. A demand for hearing must be filed with the county Domestic Relations Section that issued the support order.
3. What are some possible reasons for filing a Petition for Modification, Termination, or Reinstatement of an Existing Support Order?
A party to a support order may file a Petition for Modification if they can demonstrate a substantial and material change in circumstances. A substantial and material change in circumstance includes (but is not limited to):
  • Existence of additional income, income sources or assets
  • Increases in childcare or medical coverage expenses
  • Change in custody
  • Emancipation of child
  • Death of plaintiff receiving spousal support or alimony pendente lite
  • New guideline amounts resulting from revised guidelines or when parties have reached a private agreement

The petition must be filed with the court that entered the support order or with the court of the county to which the order has been transferred.
4. When are support payments due?
Support payments are due the first day of the month. The total monthly obligation amount must be paid-in-full before the first (1st) day of the following month to prevent the accumulation of arrears and the potential for enforcement action.
5. How long will I have to pay child support?
Under Pennsylvania law, both parents are liable for the support of their children who are under the age of 18. Sometimes, parents may be liable for the support of their children who are 18 years of age or older. For example, a support obligation may continue for a child who is 18 and still attending high school. When a child is emancipated, or over 18 years of age and no longer attending high school, one of the parents may file a "Petition for Modification of an Existing Support Order" to request that the child support order be stopped. See Question and Answer #3 for more information.

There may be other situations, such as when an adult child is unable to care for themselves, when parents may be required to pay support for a child who is 18 years of age or older.

Arrears remain an outstanding debt until paid in full, regardless of how long that takes. Modification of a child support order will not eliminate arrears that accumulated as a result of nonpayment of the support order.
6. What are arrears?
Arrears are unpaid child support owed by the noncustodial parent. If arrears exist, the noncustodial parent is said to be "in arrears." Arrears may be considered "retroactive" or "normal." Retroactive arrears accrue from the time of the filing of the complaint until an order is actually entered and are not subject to many enforcement remedies. Normal arrears occur when no support payment has been received for one calendar month and are subject to all enforcement remedies.
Income-Withholding Orders
1. What is an income-withholding order?
A court order that directs an employer to deduct support payments from a noncustodial parent’s wage. It may include current support, amounts ordered on arrears, and support related fees.
2. When is an income-withholding order issued?
The court will issue a mandatory income-withholding order if arrears accrue in an amount equal to one month's support obligation.
3. What portion of the noncustodial parent's wages will be withheld?
Employers may only withhold up to the amount listed on the Income Withholding Order. Federal and state law limits the amount of money that may be withheld from an obligor's paycheck. The maximum percentage that can be withheld from an obligor's paycheck is between 50% - 65% depending on the circumstances.
4. How long does it take for income-withholding to begin?
In most cases, income-withholding orders take effect within 4-6 weeks from the time the income-withholding order is sent to the employer by the court. The noncustodial parent is responsible for making the payments until the income-withholding order takes effect.
Pennsylvania Insurance Intercept
1. What is the Pennsylvania Insurance Intercept Program?
Domestic Relations Sections (DRSs) may collect support arrearages by issuing court orders that secure assets. These orders intercept or seize judgements or settlements that may include personal injury and workers' compensation awards. The DRS also has the authority to intercept and attach annuity and life insurance income from a child support obligor, either as the owner or beneficiary of the income, when the obligor owes support arrearages.
2. As an Insurer, do I have to participate in the Insurance Intercept Program?
Yes. Insurers who use the services of the Insurance Services Office (ISO) to match data with the Child Support Lien Network (CSLN) and/or the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement’s (OCSE) Insurance Match Program to report pending workers’ compensation and personal injury insurance awards meet the requirements of the Insurance Intercept Program under statute at 23 Pa. C.S. §4305 (b)(10). Insurers not participating in CSLN or OCSE’s Insurance Match Program must distribute monetary awards based on the requirements of 23 Pa. C.S. §4308.1.
3. Who is responsible for providing the written documentation confirming if child support arrears are owed?
The parent responsible for paying child support, their attorney, or insurer must provide written documentation confirming whether child support arrears are owed prior to the distribution of monetary awards. The attorney or insurer may use the services of a Department of Human Services-approved private judgment search company to obtain a statement as to whether arrears are owed. The Domestic Relations Section listed on the support order may be contacted to obtain the amount of child support arrears owed and to receive a Seize Order for that amount.
4. Is the obligor notified of the Non-disbursement Order that is issued to the Insurer?
If an insurer matches insurance award information with the Child Support Lien Network (CSLN) or Office of Child Support Enforcement through Insurance Service Office, a Non-disbursement Order is sent by CSLN or the Domestic Relation Section to the insurer, and a copy is mailed to the obligor.
5. How/Where are payments sent?
Under 23 Pa. C.S. §4308.1, the amount of overdue arrears identified on the Pennsylvania Child Support website (www.childsupport.state.pa.us) should be satisfied in accordance with the law and remitted to Pennsylvania State Collections and Disbursement Unit (PA SCDU), P.O. Box 62005, Harrisburg, PA 17106-2005. Insurers should remit payments to PA SCDU unless the order directs the payment to be sent directly to the DRS.
6. Can insurers be held liable for a mistaken payment?
Any insurer, attorney, or paying agent who makes distribution of the settlement proceeds based on the Non-disbursement Order or Seize Order, or based on the statement and written documentation of the insured, beneficiary, or private judgment search company is immune from any civil, criminal, or administrative penalties for making an erroneous distribution.
7. What if the beneficiary disputes the overdue arrears action?
A dispute may be based on mistaken identity. This may occur when the obligor owing overdue child support is not the beneficiary or prevailing party in the insurance settlement. If the beneficiary/claimant wants to dispute the intercept, the payment must be submitted to the Domestic Relations Section or PA SCDU with the word "disputed" clearly written on the check, money order, etc.
8. How are disputed funds handled?
The Pennsylvania State Collection and Disbursement Unit (PA-SCDU) will place the monies in escrow pending resolution of the dispute. The respective county Domestic Relations Section will schedule a hearing to resolve the dispute. Once the dispute has been resolved, the arrears will be disbursed by PA-SCDU to the appropriate individual.
Nonpayment of Child Support Obligations
1. What can happen if a noncustodial parent does not pay child support?
Nonpayment of child support may result in:
  • Civil Contempt
  • Jail for up to six months, a fine up to $500, or probation for up to six months
  • Seizure of your bank accounts
  • Seizure of any Personal Injury or Workers Compensation Awards
  • Seizure of your Federal and State Tax Refunds
  • Suspension of your Driver’s, Professional, Occupational, and/or Recreational Licenses (Hunting & Fishing)
  • Passport Denial
  • Liens against any Real Property that you own
  • Interception of Lottery Winnings
  • Credit Bureau Reporting
  • Publication of your name in the newspaper as a delinquent parent

2. What is the Driver's License Suspension Program?
The court may issue an order directing the Department of Transportation to suspend or prohibit the issuance or renewal of an obligor’s license when:
  • There is no active income withholding order in place and the obligor owes normal arrears that are equal to or more than three times the monthly support obligation; or,
  • The obligor has failed to comply with subpoenas or warrants related to paternity or child support proceedings.

3. What is the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program?
The Federal Tax Refund Offset Program (FTROP) allows states to intercept individual or joint Internal Revenue Service tax refund payments from parents who owe overdue arrears. A spouse who files a joint tax return with an individual qualifying for FTROP may file an injured spouse form to have their portion of the refund released and not withheld for child support arrears. For more information about the injured spouse claim click here.
4. How long is a jointly filed offset held?
Jointly filed offsets will be held for ninety days if an injured spouse claim has already been processed on the joint tax intercept at the time of the offset or six months if injured spouse information is not available at the time of offset.
5. What is the Passport Denial Program?
The federal Passport Denial Program provides for the denial or cancellation of United States passports for failure to pay child support. A passport may be denied or revoked when combined arrears in all cases exceed $2,500. An individual that becomes eligible for Passport Denial remains eligible until the overdue support balance is reduced to zero.
6. What is the Credit Bureau Reporting Program?
Pennsylvania law requires county Domestic Relations Sections (DRSs) to report to Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies whenever the noncustodial parent owes normal arrears that total at least two times the monthly support obligation. The noncustodial parent may contest the accuracy of the information by contacting the DRS.
7. What is a property lien?
A property lien is a claim upon property to prevent the sale or transfer of that property until a debt is satisfied. A property lien applies to all real property owned by the noncustodial parent in Pennsylvania. Lien information regarding overdue support obligations is available on the Pennsylvania Child Support website.
8. What is the Financial Institution Data Match Program?
The Financial Institution Data Match (FIDM) Program identifies bank accounts held by noncustodial parents who owe overdue child support. Once identified, these accounts may be subject to "freezing" and "seizing" by the county Domestic Relations Section.
9. Can a Financial Institution Data Match (FIDM) freeze and seize be contested?
The noncustodial parent will have 30 days after the notice was issued to pay the amount of the overdue support in full or contest the notice. The noncustodial parent may contest the notice for one of three reasons:
  • If no overdue support exists or there is a mistake in the amount of overdue support
  • If there is a mistake in the identity of the obligor
  • If the account is not subject to freeze. An example of this is when an asset is held in an escrow or trust account in the name of the obligor

10. What is the State Tax Refund Offset Program?
The Pennsylvania State Tax Refund Offset Program (STROP) requires Domestic Relations Sections to intercept state tax refund payments to obligors up to the amount of past due child support owed. An obligor is eligible for STROP intercept if total normal arrears excluding current support are equal to or greater than $150. An individual that becomes eligible for STROP remains eligible until the overdue support balance is reduced to zero.
11. What is the Recreational License Suspension Program?
The court may issue an order directing the Pennsylvania Game Commission and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to suspend or prohibit the issuance or renewal of an obligor’s license when:
  • There is no active income withholding order in place and the obligor owes normal arrears that are equal to or more than three times the monthly support obligation; or,
  • The obligor has failed to comply with subpoenas or warrants related to paternity or child support proceedings.

12. What is the Lottery Intercept Program?
When a noncustodial parent with child support arrears wins over $2,500 in the Pennsylvania Lottery, the Lottery winnings may be intercepted to satisfy child support arrears.
Cases Involving Two or More States
1. Who will handle my side of the case?
For custodial parents, wherever you most recently filed for services will manage your side of the child support case. If you move to a different county or state, your case does not automatically move with you. If you want to receive child support services in your new jurisdiction, you must file for services there, and tell them that you have an open child support case elsewhere.

For noncustodial parents, the answer is more complicated. In certain cases, Pennsylvania can establish paternity, a child support order, or enforce a child support order against a noncustodial parent in another state. If that’s not possible, the noncustodial parent’s state of residence will handle that portion of the case. The Domestic Relations Section in which the custodial parent filed for services will review the details of the case and determine which jurisdiction will handle the noncustodial parent’s side of the case.
2. How is a child support order established in another state?
The Domestic Relations Section in the county where the custodial parent lives will ask the noncustodial parent's resident state to establish a child support order in accordance with that state’s laws, policies, and procedures.
3. What happens if a child support obligation is not paid by the noncustodial parent living in another state?
The Child Support Enforcement Agency in the noncustodial parent's resident state will use the enforcement methods available in that states' child support laws, many of which are similar to Pennsylvania law. These might include a Passport Denial Program, Driver’s License Suspension, and Credit Bureau Reporting, to name a few. However, submission of the case to the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program would be handled by the Domestic Relations Section in the Pennsylvania county where the custodial parent resides.
State Collection and Disbursement Unit (SCDU)
1. What is the Pennsylvania State Collections and Disbursement Unit (PA SCDU)?
PA SCDU collects and disburses all support payments. PA SCDU is required to disburse support payments within 48 hours of receipt, unless payment is required to be held as a matter of law.
2. What should I do with the payment coupons I receive?
Fill out the coupon with the amount of money you are paying and write your PACSES 10 digit member number or Social Security number (SSN) on the check or money order to ensure that the payment is credited to the correct account. You can find your PACSES member number on your court order.
3. When will I receive my payment coupons?
You will receive a payment coupon around the third week of each month for the next month’s payment(s).
4. If I lose my coupons OR if I need extra coupons, how can I get them?
If you need additional payment coupons, click here and you will be directed to a printable blank coupon. If you do not have a payment coupon and are unable to print one, write your PACSES 10 digit member number or Social Security number (SSN) on the check or money order to ensure that the payment is credited to the correct account. You can find your PACSES member number on your court order.
If you require additional assistance, contact your DRS.
5. How can I make my payments?

No Cost Option:

Payment(s) made by checking or savings account debit can be made at www.expertpay.com. There is no charge for payments sent to the Pennsylvania State Collection and Disbursement Unit. You must register and set up an account with ExpertPay. Please allow three to four banking days for the payment to be received by the Pennsylvania State Collection and Disbursement Unit. ExpertPay Customer Service is available at 1-800-403-0879. After registering, future payments can be made at 1-866-645-6347.

Convenience Fee Option:

Payment(s) using your MasterCard, Visa or Discover credit card can be made online at www.expertpay.com or by phone 1-866-645-6347.

Cash payments:

If you want to pay your child support obligation with cash, you may use MoneyGram, which is found at many retailers, including Walmart and CVS. The PA SCDU (PA State Collections & Disbursement Unit) Receive Code is 14677. To find a MoneyGram location near you click the MoneyGram logo or type www.moneygram.com/locations in your browser and enter your address.Click "Filter by Service" and select "Pay a Bill." Cash is accepted at all locations. Walmart also accepts debit cards. For information about all payment options, you may click the "Make a Support Payment" on the Pennsylvania Child Support website home page.
6. Can I set up automatic monthly payments from my bank account?
If you have a checking or savings account and would like to establish a regular, recurring withdrawal from that account to make your support payment, you must create an account with ExpertPay. There is no charge for ExpertPay payments sent to the Pennsylvania State Collection and Disbursement Unit (PA SCDU). Once you have created an account, please allow three to four banking days for the payment to be received by the PA SCDU.
7. If I received my support via check, where can I cash it?
A bank where you have a personal account may cash your check without charging a fee.
8. How long after the payor sends in the payment will I receive it?
The Pennsylvania State Collections and Disbursement Unit is legally required to disburse received payments within 48 hours, unless payment must be held as a matter of law.
9. I have not received my support payment. What should I do?
Call PA SCDU at 1-877-727-7238 and ask if a payment was issued. If a payment was issued:
  • Verify that the method by which you receive payments is correct. If the payment was sent by check, the check may have been lost in the mail. PA SCDU will verify that the check has not been cashed, stop payment on the check, and reissue the check to the plaintiff. PA SCDU will wait 15 days after the first check was sent before they will void and reissue the check.
  • The check may have been stolen. If a stolen check has not been cashed, PA SCDU will void and reissue the check. If a stolen check has been cashed, however, PA SCDU will send the plaintiff a copy of the cashed check and instructions on how to recover the money.

If the payment was not issued, the defendant may have not made a payment.
Distribution and Disbursement of Child Support Collections
1. When a payment is received, how is the money applied towards support, arrears, and fees?
The payment is first applied to all child/family current support, then child/family-related support obligations, and finally to amounts ordered on arrears (OOA). If the payment amount is more than the current month’s obligation(s) for child/family support, then current spousal-only support, alimony pendente lite-only, and alimony-only are paid. Spousal/alimony pendente lite/alimony-only arrears (including OOA) are paid after all child/family arrears are paid in full. The obligor’s fees are paid last.
2. What if the amount of my income-withholding payment isn’t enough to cover all the current child support obligations owed for the month?
The income-withholding payment amount is prorated so that each child support obligation receives a share of the payment, based on the current child support order amounts. If there is any support owed after income-withholding payments are applied, the obligor must make up the difference through automatic withdrawal or manual payment.
3. If I am a custodial parent with a support action initiated in another State, why am I unable to view payments made to my case?
We do not report payments to other courts on our website because we do not know how the other state will distribute and ultimately disburse funds to the custodial parent. Distribution is based on federal law. Please check with the other state for payment information.
4. How will I receive my child support payments?
Pennsylvania EPPICard™.
Your support payments are automatically loaded onto the Pennsylvania EPPICard™. There are no charges incurred for a cash withdrawal from a teller at any financial institution that displays the MasterCard brand mark. If you withdraw funds from a MoneyPass network ATM your first transaction will be fee free for PA EPPICard™ cardholders. MoneyPass ATMs are located inside convenience stores such as Sheetz, Rutters, and WAWA. The one free ATM transaction for PA EPPICard™ cardholders must occur at a MoneyPass network ATM. After using the one free transaction EPPICard™ users must pay surcharges based on the institutional fee structure for the ATM accessed. There is an ATM fee for balance inquiries. Please view the desktop version of the Child Support Website for additional details, or to learn more about EPPICard™ visit their site at EPPICard.com.

Direct Deposit
You can set up direct deposit via ACH to your personal bank account by contacting the Pennsylvania State Collection and Disbursement Unit (PA SCDU) Customer Service Unit or by printing the form found on the Child Support Website. The PA SCDU phone number is 1-877-727-7238. You may find the direct deposit form here. Please note, your bank must complete Section 2 of the form.
Pennsylvania EPPICARD™ Frequently Asked Questions
1. What number do I call if I have questions about my Pennsylvania EPPICard™?
Call 1-800-304-1669 for anything related to your Pennsylvania EPPICard™. It is printed on the back of your Pennsylvania EPPICard™. If you are calling from a location outside of the U.S., please call collect at 1-801-933-8542. Both numbers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week Call customer service if you need to:
  • Report lost or stolen cards
  • Check your balance
  • Change your PIN
  • Review transaction history
  • Register a complaint about a card issue
  • Ask questions about card use
  • Discuss international card use
  • Report that your card was not received in the mail

If you have questions regarding anything else about your child support case (such as enforcement or modifying your support order) you must call the Domestic Relations Section that handles your case.
2. How do I activate my Pennsylvania EPPICard™?
Use the EPPICard™ mobile app, GoProgram.com, or call the EPPICard™ Customer Service line at 1-800-304-1669 to activate the card. This phone number is on the back of your new card. You will be asked to choose a PIN to activate your card. After this phone call is completed, your card will be ready to use to make purchases or to withdraw cash.
3. Where can I shop or get cash with my Pennsylvania EPPICard™?
Look for the MasterCard® logo. This logo shows that the store accepts your EPPICard™ MasterCard®. To get cash, look on an ATM for the MasterCard® logo – you can make withdrawals at these ATMs. Many retailers that accept Maestro, including grocery stores, will let you get cash back with purchases, too. Be aware, certain businesses place a hold on your available funds until the transaction clears and may take one or two days for the funds to be released.
4. Do I have to use the ATM to get cash at a bank displaying the MasterCard® logo?
No, you do not have to use the ATM. You can get cash back at any bank displaying the MasterCard® logo. Go to the teller and ask for the desired amount of cash that is available to you. You will not be charged a fee to get cash from the teller. Do not ask for a cash advance.
5. Where can I find a bank that accepts/displays the MasterCard® logo?
Information on bank and ATM locations is available at https://www.mastercard.us/en-us/personal/get-support/find-nearest-atm.html
6. Who should I contact if I have a problem getting cash from a teller at a MasterCard® bank?
Call 1-800-304-1669 for anything related to your Pennsylvania EPPICard™. You will need to provide the name of the bank, and the branch office where the problem occurred. During regular business hours, Monday through Friday, you can also contact the Pennsylvania State Collections and Disbursement Unit Customer Service at 1-877-727-7238.
7. Do I have to get a Pennsylvania EPPICard™?
If you decide you do not want a card, you may have your funds direct deposited into a personal bank account. You can set up direct deposit via ACH to your personal bank account by contacting the Pennsylvania State Collection and Disbursement Unit (PA SCDU) Customer Service Unit or by printing the form found on the Child Support Website. The PA SCDU phone number is 1-877-727-7238. You may find the direct deposit form here. Please note, your bank must complete Section 2 of the form.
8. Will I automatically receive a Pennsylvania EPPICard™?
You will be automatically sent a Pennsylvania EPPICard™ if you do not sign up for direct deposit.
9. Can I use my Pennsylvania EPPICard™ as a bank account?
No, you cannot make your own deposits into your EPPICard™ MasterCard® account.
10. How will I know how much money is in my Pennsylvania EPPICard™ account?
You can call EPPICard™ customer service at 1-800-304-1669 to check your balance. You may check your balance online at www.EPPICard.com. You may also use an ATM to perform a balance inquiry. There is a fee for balance inquires. There may also be a surcharge fee if the inquiry is not performed at a Wells Fargo or PNC bank ATM.
11. Will I get a monthly statement showing what I spent?
A monthly statement will not be automatically sent to you. You may request a paper statement by calling EPPICard™ customer service at 1-800-304-1669. You can receive one free paper statement per month. You can also access information regarding your Pennsylvania EPPICard™ for free at at www.EPPICard.com.
12. Do I need a bank account to use my Pennsylvania EPPICard™?
No. You do not have to have a bank account, and no credit check will be performed.
13. Are there any fees when using my Pennsylvania EPPICard™?
Yes. Please refer to the EPPICard™ Disclosure Statement or go to GoProgram.com for a complete list of fees. You may find this document at the EPPICard™ website (www.eppicard.com) by clicking "Program Materials".
14. What is a PIN?
PIN stands for Personal Identification Number. Your EPPICard™ PIN is a 4-digit number that you must create to activate your EPPICard™. Always keep your PIN private. If you need a replacement card, you must activate the replacement with a PIN, too. You may select your original PIN. For additional protection, sign the back of your card in ink, or put a note on the card to always ask for photo ID.
15. What if I forget my PIN?
If you cannot remember your PIN, call customer service at 1-800-304-1669 and select a new PIN.
16. What happens if I enter the wrong PIN?
You have a total of four tries to enter the correct PIN. After four consecutive incorrect attempts, the machine displays a “locked” message. The card is locked until midnight. If you remember your PIN, you may simply use your card the next day. If you do not remember your PIN, you can call customer service at 1-800-304-1669 and select a new PIN.
17. What should I do if I lose my Pennsylvania EPPICard™?
Call 1-800-304-1669 when you realize that your card is missing. This puts a hold on your account and no one will be able to use the card. If you find your card after you report it to customer service, you will not be able to use the original card. You must wait for the replacement to arrive in the mail. Your first replacement will be issued at no charge. However, each time after the first time that you request a replacement card you will be charged a fee.
18. What if my card will not work?
Broken, cracked or damaged cards need to be replaced. Call 1-800-304-1669 and report that you have a problem with your Pennsylvania EPPICard™. A replacement card will be sent directly to the mailing address associated with your account.
19. What if I get an error message that reads Insufficient Funds?
Insufficient Funds means you have tried to spend more than you have on your Pennsylvania EPPICard™. If you feel this error message is incorrect, call 1-800-304-1669 for assistance.
20. What do I do if I think the balance of my Pennsylvania EPPICard™ is incorrect?
You should call customer service at 1-800-304-1669 if you have any questions regarding the balance of your account, or any transactions associated with your account.
21. Do I need to change the name on my card if I get married?
You must contact your local Domestic Relations Section (DRS) if you are receiving child support and your name has changed. The DRS will advise any documentation you must submit and update the statewide child support system with your new name. If you wish to have an EPPICard™ with your new name, you will need to call EPPICard™ at 1-800-304-1669 after you have contacted your DRS.
22. Will my card still work when my child support case closes?
Your card will work until the balance on the card is $0.00.
23. How do I switch to direct deposit?
Contact the Pennsylvania State Collections and Disbursement Unit at 1-877-727-7238.
24. I received the Pennsylvania EPPICard™ but I want my support money deposited to my bank account. What should I do with the card?
If you received the Pennsylvania EPPICard™, support payments received will be deposited to the card until your direct deposit enrollment process is completed. Please keep the card, activate your PIN as directed on the card and check your card balance. Once the Pennsylvania State Collections and Disbursement Unit receives your correctly completed direct deposit enrollment form, direct deposit should begin in about 10 business days. Do not dispose of your EPPICard™. If, at any time, you cancel or stop direct deposit, your support payments will again be disbursed to your EPPICard™.
25. I think I got some mailers, but since I wanted to continue receiving checks, I threw the mailers (and the EPPICard™) away. Now I'm not getting my support checks any longer. What should I do?
If you did not sign up for Direct Deposit, and you are no longer receiving support checks, it is possible that you have support money on your PA EPPICard™. You may access www.childsupport.state.pa.us to see if support payments have been made for you and if the support payments have been disbursed to your EPPICard™. If support payments have been disbursed for you to the EPPICard™, you must call EPPICard™ customer service at 1-800-304-1669 and request a replacement card.
General Subjects
1. What programs are available for noncustodial parents?
Program availability is largely determined by your county, but some of the more common programs include:
  • Mediation (both voluntary and mandatory)
  • Counseling
  • Education
  • Development of parenting plans
  • Visitation enforcement (including monitoring, supervision, and neutral drop-off and pickup)
  • Development of guidelines for visitation and alternative custody arrangements

For a list of certain co-parenting programs available in Pennsylvania, click here.
2. What other programs are available that are aimed at strengthening families?
Pennsylvania's Family Centers believe that the best way to ensure the growth and development of children is to support families and the communities in which they live. Every Family Center is unique, but some of the services they offer include:
  • Adult Education
  • Job Training and Placement
  • Language Skills
  • Literacy Programs
  • Parent Support Groups
  • Parenting Skills Programs
  • Child Health and Development Screenings
  • Family Activities
  • Toy and Book Lending Libraries
  • Child Care Programs
  • Summer and After-School Activities

3. Are there any groups that assist noncustodial parents with understanding their legal rights?
There are numerous organizations found on the Internet, both for-profit and non-profit, for noncustodial parents that may be able to help. You may also find a list of co-parenting resources here.
4. What if my address changes?
Addresses can be updated online via e-Services or reported to the county Domestic Relations Section (DRS) that manages your child support case. The DRS may require documentation to verify the change of address.
5. What if I change jobs?
Changes in employment can be updated online or reported to the county Domestic Relations Section that manages your child support case.
6. How does the Domestic Relations Section locate a noncustodial parent?
The DRS will submit the noncustodial parent's name, and other identifying information to the State Parent Locate System, and the Federal Parent Locate System. These two systems will check various computer databases used by Federal and State agencies for a match. The information is then reported back to the DRS. However, the best source of information is often the parties to the support action who should report relevant information that may assist the DRS in obtaining location and employment information.
7. What can I do if I disagree with a custody or visitation order?
Issues involving custody are resolved solely by the Pennsylvania courts. The appeal process represents the proper forum to present arguments of why you believe the court may have acted improperly in making a determination in your case.
8. What happens if the noncustodial parent is in the U.S. Armed Services?
The same methods for establishment and enforcement of child support orders that apply to civilians also apply to military personnel. However, the process may take longer to complete.
9. Who do I contact for information on my child support case?
The Domestic Relations Section (DRS) that manages your child support case is the best source of information on your case. The DRS will maintain contact with out-of-state child support agencies if your case involves an out-of-state noncustodial parent, and can provide information regarding the status or progress of your case. You may also call the Pennsylvania Child Support Helpline at 1-800-932-0211 and a child support enforcement specialist will assist you or visit the Pennsylvania Child Support Website at www.childsupport.state.pa.us.
10. I have concerns with the quality of service being given to me by the Domestic Relations Section. Who can I contact?
You may write to the Director of the Domestic Relations Section that manages your child support case to present concerns regarding office staff, office practices, and/or the quality of service provided.
11. What if my child support order is part of my divorce decree?
Child support orders that are issued with a divorce decree are handled differently in each county. If your child support order was issued with a divorce decree, the best thing to do is to consult your local Domestic Relations Section to find out how they handle those orders.
12. What is the Earned Income Tax Credit?
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), sometimes called the Earned Income Credit (EIC), is a refundable federal income tax credit for low-income working individuals and families. For more information on the Internal Revenue Service Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Program, please contact 1-800-829-1040 or visit www.irs.gov/eitc .
13. I am a defendant and I overpaid on my support case. Can I get my money back?
Contact your county Domestic Relations Section to discuss your case and determine your next steps.
14. I am a plaintiff and I received a large support payment a few months ago. The payment was several times the monthly support amount that I usually receive. I have not received any support since that time. Is there a problem with my case?
Your support case may have a credit balance, which means that the defendant may have overpaid. Contact your county Domestic Relations Section to discuss your case.
15. How does the Pennsylvania Child Support Enforcement system (PACSES) receive employment information for a defendant?
PACSES obtains employment information from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, from the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, the Work Number/TALX/Equifax and client updates.
$35 Fee
1. What is the $35 annual fee?
Federal law requires child support agencies to collect a $35 annual fee to recoup the costs of running child support programs. In Pennsylvania, custodial parents that receive $2,000 or more in child support during the year pay the $35 fee. You will never pay the annual fee if you have ever received cash assistance benefits.
2. Who pays the annual fee?
Custodial parents that receive $2,000 or more in child support in a year pay the $35 fee.
3. How do I pay the annual fee?
The state child support agency deducts $35 from your child support once you receive $2,000 in a year.
4. What if my support case does not include child support?
The annual fee applies to child support cases. You do not pay the $35 fee if your case does not include child support. This applies to spousal/alimony-only and alimony pendente lite-only cases.
5. What if my support case includes both child support and spousal/alimony, or alimony pendenté lite (APL) support?
Your case is eligible for the $35 fee. You will have to pay the fee if you receive $2,000 or more in support for the year.
6. What if I have a child support case and a separate spousal, alimony, or alimony pendenté lite (APL) support case?
The fee applies to one case. In this scenario, you may have to pay the annual fee for your child support case, but you will not pay the fee on a separate non-child support case.
7. What if my support case is closed?
You will not pay the annual fee if your child support case is closed.
8. How often must I pay the fee?
The state child support agency must assess the fee once each federal fiscal year, which runs from October 1 to September 30. You will pay the fee once a year per case.
9. What if I have more than one child support case in Pennsylvania?
You may have to pay the fee for each case. Pennsylvania charges the annual fee once a year for each eligible child support case.
10. What if I begin receiving cash assistance benefits after the fee has been deducted?
You will not have to pay the $35 fee in the future, but you will not receive a refund on previously paid annual fees.
11. What if I have a child support case that opened in another state?
State laws vary on how the fee is collected. You should contact that state to determine how they collect the $35 fee.
12. What if I received cash assistance in the past and Pennsylvania charged me the annual fee?
You should contact your local Domestic Relations Section to request a review of your child support case. You must provide proof to the DRS that you received cash assistance in the past, either in Pennsylvania or in another state.
13. What if I was charged the $35 fee on a case that doesn’t meet the eligibility criteria?
You should contact your local Domestic Relations Section to request a review of your support case to determine if you should receive a refund.
14. I opened my case in another state, but PA is helping with the case. Do I have to pay the fee in both states?
No. The state that opened your support case will assess the fee according to their laws.
15. Who can I contact with questions about the $35 fee in Pennsylvania?
You may contact the Bureau of Child Support Enforcement’s helpline at 1-800-932-0211, Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Medical Coverage
1. Which parent is responsible for providing health care coverage?
Pennsylvania law gives the courts the authority to order either parent involved in a child support action to provide medical support if it is available at a reasonable cost. The noncustodial parent has the first responsibility to provide coverage if it’s available at a reasonable cost.
2. Who is responsible for paying for health insurance premiums when a third party resident provides the coverage for the children?
If someone who is not a case party provides and pays for health insurance coverage for a child who is the subject of a support proceeding, the cost of coverage will be split between the case parties in proportion to their net incomes.
3. Who is the third party resident?
A person other than the parents of the child(ren). Examples include step-parents or the child(ren)’s grandparent who has enrolled the child(ren) in their health care plan.
4. What is reasonable cost?
The noncustodial parent is responsible for providing health care coverage for the children if available at a reasonable cost. “Reasonable cost” to an obligor is defined as an amount that does not exceed 5% of the obligor’s net monthly income and, when added to the amount of basic child support plus additional expenses the obligor is ordered to pay, does not exceed 50% of the obligor’s net monthly income.
5. When should the National Medical Support Notice be issued?
The National Medical Support Notice (NMSN) shall be issued to the obligor’s employer if health care coverage for the children isn’t provided by the obligee or a third party.
6. When should the employer enroll the children?
If coverage is available at a reasonable cost (see question #4 of this section) to the obligor, the employer shall enroll the children in the health plan no earlier than 25 days from the issuance date of the National Medical Support Notice.
7. Can an obligor object to the employer enrolling the children in the health care plan?
Yes, an obligor can object to the enrollment based upon unreasonable cost, mistake of fact or availability of alternative health care coverage for the children. The obligor has 10 business days to respond to the DRS with an objection.
8. What happens if health care coverage is unavailable to the obligor?
If health care coverage is unavailable to the obligor for the parties’ children at a reasonable cost, the court shall order the obligee to provide health care coverage for the children if it is available at a reasonable cost, not to exceed 5% of the obligee’s net monthly income.
9. What happens if health care coverage is unavailable to either party?
If health care coverage is unavailable to either party at a reasonable cost, the court may order the custodial parent to apply for government-sponsored coverage, such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Parties will share any co-premium or costs proportionately to their net monthly incomes.
Support Pass Through (SPT)
1. What is Support Pass Through (SPT)?
When a custodial parent’s family receives cash assistance from the State, current support payments go to the Department of Human Services. If current support is paid in a month, DHS will send a SPT payment to the custodial parent, which is disbursed in the month after the current support is paid. Payments made on support arrears are not eligible for SPT payments and will be disbursed based on what arrears are still owed.
2. How much will my Support Pass Through (SPT) payment be?
This amount is based on the amount of current support paid in the prior month and on the number of children on the cash assistance grant.
Children Maximum SPT
0 $50
1 $100
2+ $200

A family on cash assistance can receive up to the maximum SPT payment or the court-ordered amount for any given month, whichever is less. This applies regardless of how many noncustodial parents (NCP’s) pay support for the children in a cash grant group in that month.
3. What if I have two support cases, but only one noncustodial parent (NCP) is making payments?
The Support Pass Through (SPT) payment is based on the total of all current support paid in a calendar month and the total number of children on the cash assistance grant. Which NCP makes the payment does not affect the SPT amount. The plaintiff on cash assistance will receive the maximum SPT as outlined above, or the court-ordered amount, whichever is less.
4. What do I do if I don’t think the amount of my Support Pass Through (SPT) is correct?
A Monthly Support Notice (MSN) is issued to current and former cash assistance recipients when child support payments are paid to the Department on assigned support. The MSN offers an opportunity to appeal the SPT payment.
5. My cash assistance closed, but I still receive the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Will I get a Support Pass Through (SPT) payment?
No, SPT payments are sent only to plaintiffs who are currently on cash assistance. SNAP eligibility does not affect SPT payments. However, because an SPT payment is made in the month following the month the current support payment(s) were made, it is possible that when a cash grant is closed in a given month, you may still receive the SPT payment the following month when only SNAP and/or medical assistance are opened. For example, cash closed on 9/28/14, while SNAP and medical remain opened. If any noncustodial parents made payment(s) on or before 9/28/14, then the former cash recipient will get an SPT in October 2014, regardless of SNAP and/or medical eligibility.
Support Order Modification
1. What does it mean to modify my support order?
This means you can ask the court to change the amount of support you pay or receive each month.
2. When should I ask the court to modify my support order?
You should ask to modify when there is a change in:
  • Income for either party, such as a new job, a loss of a job, a promotion, downgrade, fewer work hours/earnings, or a raise
  • Childcare expenses
  • Medical coverage
  • Custody
  • Age of child, if your child will soon be age 18 and a high school graduate
  • The person receiving support is no longer living or moved to a different house under care of a different person
  • Incarceration
3. How do I modify my support order?
Step 1: Contact the county DRS to obtain a Petition for Modification, or log into the Child Support website and submit a Petition for Modification through E-Services.
Step 2: If you are submitting the paper version of the Petition for Modification, complete, sign, and return the petition for modification to your county DRS.
Step 3: You will receive notice from the DRS with the date, time, and place you are scheduled to attend a DRS office conference to talk about the request for modification. The notice lists information that you must bring to the conference.
Step 4: Attend the DRS office conference to see if your order can be modified.
Step 5: The DRS will determine if your support order may be changed.
4. What if I do not agree on the new amount of support?
If either party does not agree with the modified amount of support, the Domestic Relations Section (DRS) will enter a recommended support order. If a party does not agree with the recommended support order, they are provided 20 days to request a hearing, which must be filed with the county DRS that issued the order. At the hearing, parties provide documentation to support their claims, and a final order will be entered based on the information provided.
Military Service Members
1. What must I do before I deploy or join active duty military service?
Contact the Domestic Relations Section (DRS) that handles your support case(s) to:
  • Inform that you will be deployed or are joining the military, and how long your military commitment is
  • Provide changes in your address, wages, and healthcare coverage for your child(ren)
  • Request a review of your support case(s) for possible modification of your support order(s)
  • Provide information about a relative or trusted friend who is caring for your child(ren) or assisting with your support case(s) in your absence

2. What must I do after I return from deployment or am discharged from military service?
Contact the Domestic Relations Section (DRS) that handles your support case to:
  • Inform that you have returned or have been discharged
  • Provide changes in your address, wages, and healthcare coverage for your children
  • Request a review of your support case(s) for possible modification of your support order(s)
3. What should I do if my salary changes when I am deployed and/or I do not have a job when I return?
Contact the Domestic Relations Section that handles your child support case to request a review for possible modification of your support order.
4. How do I make my child support payments when deployed or on active duty?
Domestic Relations Sections issue income-withholding orders to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) for active military servicemembers. Once the income-withholding order is established, your paychecks will have an automatic deduction, which will satisfy your child support obligation.
5. Where can I find information about my rights when I am deployed or on active duty?
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) of 2003 is a federal law that provides information about important rights for military members, including child support.
Please visit http://legalassistance.law.af.mil/ for more information.
6. How do I contact the Domestic Relations Section (DRS) that handles my support case?
Click here to select your county from a drop down box. Then click "Locate Office" to view address and telephone information for your DRS.
Assignment of Support Rights
1. What does "assignment of support rights" mean?
“Assignment of support rights” means that when you receive cash assistance, current support collected for you is kept by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS). Federal and State law require the assignment of your support rights. The amount of your support including arrears (unpaid back support), that may be kept by DHS may not exceed the total amount of cash assistance you receive.

E-Services
1. What is E-Services?
E-Services enables you or your attorney to submit important court documents to your county Domestic Relations Section, including the Application for Child or Spousal Support Services, Complaint for Support, and Petition for Modification.
2. Who can use E-Services to submit documents?
E-Services document submission is available to anyone seeking child or spousal support services, including new support actions, modifications to existing support actions, and recovery of overpayments. If you are unsure whether you have a support case, contact your county Domestic Relations Section or the Child Support Helpline at 1-800-932-0211.
3. How do I access E-Services?
To begin a new E-Services request or to access a saved request, select the “Request Support Services” button on the Child Support Website homepage. Or, you can access E-Services through the “Begin or Resume a Request for Support Services” link under the “I Would Like To…” section of the Child Support Website homepage. Selecting the button or the link will prompt you to login to an existing account or create a new account.
4. What information will I need to complete to submit court documents online?
You will need to provide basic information (date of birth, Social Security number, etc.) for yourself, the person you are filing for support against, and the children you have together. Additionally, any information you can provide regarding income for parties, insurance, custody, paternity, and any prior support orders will be helpful in processing your support request. If you are submitting a Petition for Modification, you will need to explain the change in circumstances prompting your request for a change in your support order.
5. How long will it take to submit documents online?
The online document submission should take 30 minutes or less to complete.
6. What happens after I’ve submitted the documents?
Submitted documents are sent electronically to your county Domestic Relations Section. Information about the next steps in the process will be provided after the documents are submitted.
Child Support Estimator
1. What is the Child Support Estimator?
The Child Support Estimator enables you to get an estimate of your monthly child support amount based upon the gross income, taxes, and expenses of the custodial and noncustodial parents. The estimate indicates how much support you might receive or pay. It does not include a calculation for alimony pendente lite, spousal support, or for combined child support and spousal support/alimony pendente lite orders. The Court of Common Pleas will establish the actual monthly support amount based upon the Pennsylvania Child Support Guidelines.
2. Who can use the Child Support Estimator?
Anyone who would like to estimate their potential monthly child support amount may use the Child Support Estimator. The estimator does not provide estimates for spousal support and alimony pendente lite.
3. How do I access the Child Support Estimator?
Click here to access the Child Support Estimator. Mobile users can access the Child Support Estimator through the Self-Service feature.
4. What information will I need to estimate my child support amount?
To complete an estimate, you need to know the number of children for whom you want to receive child support, the gross income for both the custodial and the noncustodial parents, and the local and state tax rate. The estimator will return more accurate results if you can also provide the monthly amount paid for child care, the amount of any alimony or spousal support received, the amount of any monthly health insurance premiums for the children, and the monthly amount of any union dues or non-voluntary retirement paid by the custodial and noncustodial parents.