Monday, September 15, 2008

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Texas Attorney General Opens Child Support Hotline for Parents Affected by Hurricane Ike

HOUSTON – Due to mail delivery disruptions caused by Hurricane Ike, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today urged Houston area parents who receive child support through the mail to call (800) 252-8014 for information about their payments.

The hurricane has disrupted mail delivery to Brazoria, Galveston, Harris and Matagorda counties. The Texas Child Support Disbursement Unit will re-route child support payments normally mailed to those areas as soon as parents contact child support officials with their new locations. Parents who do not call will get their checks at their current address as soon as mail delivery resumes.

The Child Support Division’s toll-free number is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT. Operators are standing by to obtain current or temporary addresses for mailing payments to parents from areas experiencing mail disruption. Because of heavy call volume, callers may experience wait time on the telephone.

Parents who pay child support may call (800) 252-8014 to hear automated information about their child support cases. An eight-digit member identification number is needed to obtain a record of the parent’s last four child support payments; dates and locations of pending court hearings; dates of service on current legal actions; availability of genetic test results; and amounts due for current and past-due child support.

To avoid hurricane-related delays, parents can sign up for direct deposit or the Texas Debit Card. Depending on the option selected, child support payments are deposited directly into a parent’s bank account or onto the card. There is no waiting for checks to arrive in the mail, no lost or stolen checks and funds can be accessed in thousands of locations. The Texas Debit Card is a VISA-branded card that can be used to withdraw funds from ATM machines and banks, or used for purchases anywhere VISA debit cards are accepted. Parents receiving child support payments through the Texas Child Support Disbursement Unit can enroll in either of these services by calling (800) 252-8014 and selecting the “direct deposit” or “Texas Debit Card” option, or by visiting the child support section of the Attorney General’s Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov .

The Attorney General’s Child Support Division offers an array of services to help families, including: locating absent parents; establishing paternity for children born to unmarried parents; establishing, enforcing, and modifying child and medical support orders; and collecting and distributing child support payments.