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posted on January 06, 2009 11:18


Approximately 21,000 Idaho parents will receive a new debit card in the mail beginning next week, as the Idaho Child Support Program converts child support payments to the new Idaho Family Support Card. This new VISA debit card replaces the Idaho Quest card for child support payments, offering families more flexibility, while saving the state money.


“The Family Support Card will be accepted anywhere VISA is accepted, much more widely than the Idaho Quest Card,” says Orie Garcia, manager of the Electronic Benefits Program for the Department of Health and Welfare. “This new business process also will save an estimated $250,000 a year, which is a real plus for the state.”


Parents who receive child support have the option to direct deposit child support payments into their bank accounts, or have the money deposited into a debit account accessed by the new Idaho Family Support Card.  The new cards are being distributed over a two week period beginning January 12th, with child support payments beginning to be deposited into the accounts on February 2nd.


Garcia says the new cards will be accepted nationwide at more than three million locations. Parents can access statements either on-line or through a monthly paper statement, and there is no cost to receive cash back when making a purchase. “We are hoping to add ‘monthly bill pay’ in the future, so families can automatically set up payments for utilities, mortgages and other monthly payments,” Garcia says.


The new card was tested in December with 2,000 parents participating in a pilot program. Following the success of the pilot, the Child Support Program is distributing an estimated 21,000 cards to custodial parents during the month of January. Parents who receive the new card are asked to follow the card instructions to activate it so payments can be deposited. Parents also are asked to continue using their Idaho Quest card until all funds are spent, because balances cannot be transferred to the new Family Support card.


Parents are reminded that the Idaho Family Support card is similar to most bank debit cards—the user will be charged fees if the card is used at ATM machines. If a card is lost, one free replacement will be available, but parents will need to pay replacement fees for additional lost cards. Parents also may notice a slight difference in the deposit timelines with the new card. Once a payment for child support is received, it will take two business days to be deposited into a parent’s support card account. Previously, it usually took one business day for deposits to be made.


The new Idaho Family Support Card only affects child support payments. Public assistance programs such as Food Stamps and cash assistance will continue using the Idaho Quest card.


(Editors: A high resolution photo accompanies this press release. If you have additional questions, please contact Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Public Information Officer Tom Shanahan, (208) 334-0668.)