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DES helps employers understand child-support duties

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio may get all of the headlines by rounding up deadbeat parents who don’t pay child support, but it is employers who help collect up to 80 percent of the state’s child support, and they may not know all of their responsibilities when it comes to doing that.

One state agency is trying to change that.

Veronica Ragland, assistant director of the Arizona Department Of Economic Security’s Child Support Division, said a lot of people are owed money.

“At least one out of five workers in our current workforce are single parents who should be receiving child support,” she said.

Ragland said that most companies try to follow the rules by deducting child support from employee wages, but they may not know that it is up to them to do more.

“They’re responsible for verifying employment,” she said. “They’re also responsible for reporting when an employee seperates from employment. They’re responsible, of course, for withholding federal, state and unemployment insurance taxes, and providing medical insurance information.”

Ragland said that DES has created a group to help employers learn everything that they’re responsible for when it comes to child support.

“The employer team not only posts relevant information on the DES website,” she said, “but members of my team are also available to meet with employers or come out and do presentations to insure that employers know their requirements and are reporting them correctly.”

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