What is the “State Disbursement Unit” and how does it work?

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image1633372In Illinois, the State Disbursement Unit, or, the “SDU” as it is sometimes called, is where child support is paid by a child support obligor (the person paying child support) and distributed to a child support obligee (a person receiving child support).  Parties in Illinois have the option of paying child support directly to the other party if they agree.  If they do not agree to a “direct payment” between the parties, then the child support payments are made directly to the SDU, or, the State Disbursement Unit.

The State Disbursement Unit receives child supports both from companies that are withholding their employee’s child support obligation from the employee’s paycheck, as well as from individuals that are paying the support.  The SDU collects the money, keeps a record of who paid it, the date and how much, and then sends it to the person who is to receive it.  The parties have to pay an annual fee of approximately $36.00 to use the SDU’s services, by Court Order.  The SDU keeps records of all payments that are received for each individual case, which makes it easy for the parties or the Court to find out how much has been paid and what is outstanding.

There are some benefits as well as some drawbacks to using the State Disbursement Unit for support payments.  One benefit is that the parties are easily able to pull a record of all payments and dates that they were made.  Another benefit is that the parties can opt for the funds to be sent to the obligee via an automatic deposit into their bank account, instead of receiving a check for each support payment.  One drawback is that the payments have a lag time in between when they are paid and when they are received, because checks have to clear the SDU before funds are distributed to the obligee.  Another drawback is that the SDU processes a lot of payments, and thus, their records are not always accurate.  The obligor party should keep records of all payments made to the SDU, including those withheld from the obligor’s paycheck, just in case there are any calculation errors.

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