Iowa has become the first state in the country to distribute child support electronically — through a deposit into a bank account or transferring the money to an A-T-M card that can be used like cash. Iowa Department of Human Services director Kevin Concannon says payments have been going out that way for the past month. Concannon says the state will save about $420,000 each year in mailing costs. He says those who get child support are now saved the worry about lost or stolen checks. Those who are ordered to pay child support in Iowa must send the money to the state, which then distributes the money to those who are owed the child support. Iowa collects about two-hundred-65 million dollars worth of child support every year for about one-hundred-50-thousand families. Those who don’t have a bank account get the “ReliaCard Visa” from U.S. Bank, and Concannon says it functions just like a debit card. There’s no fee for the debit card, and they get one free usage at an A-T-M each month. They can use it anywhere a debit card can be used — at the grocery store, gas station or clothing store. State officials do allow folks without easy access to an A-T-M or language difficulties to keep getting their child support payments through the mail, and just over a thousand families are still getting their checks the old-fashioned way.
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