By Gerri Elder
Last week in Indiana, many child support payments were late through no fault of the parents who paid the child support. A state computer crash was to blame for the delayed payments that sent many divorced and single custodial parents into a panic.
Officials said that some of the delayed Indiana child support payments were sent out to custodial parents on Thursday, with the remainder of the payments being mailed out on Friday. For the custodial parents who depend on the money and were left waiting, the late child support payments couldn't come soon enough.
The Associated Press reported that Indiana child support payments totaling at least $5.5 million were received by the Department of Child Services on Monday and child support payments were sent out to 37,000 custodial parents on Thursday morning. All child support payments that came in to the department after Monday were processed on Thursday night so that they could be sent to the waiting parents on Friday morning, according to Cynthia Longest, the department's deputy director.
Longest says that the Department of Child Services in Indiana processes an average of $3 million in child support payments each day.
The computer crash not only affected custodial parents who were waiting for child support payments. Databases for the Department of Child Services and the Family and Social Services Administration were also corrupted on Monday night, impacting the food stamps program and Healthy Indiana Plan health insurance coverage as well.
The Family and Social Services Administration database was recovered by state workers on Wednesday afternoon, but the Department of Child Services database proved to be a little trickier and was not recovered until early Thursday. By Thursday afternoon, both agencies were back in business.
Workers at the Department of Child Services, while not processing child support payments, worked to field calls from custodial parents who called when they failed to receive their child support payments on time. Since the computer problems happened just after the long holiday weekend for the Fourth of July, the agencies already had a day of catching up to do and the database problems really caused a backlog for workers.
The Family and Social Services Secretary Mitch Roob said that the database crash also came at a particularly bad time for his office as interviews to recertify clients for eligibility for food stamps, Medicaid and other government programs are most frequent at the beginning and end of the month.
The computer problem that delayed the child support payments in Indiana was caused by a system used to back up the state computers. The state utilizes a computer at Indiana University in Bloomington to back up the state government mainframe. During the information exchange on Monday night, the computer at Indiana University crashed, and when the system came back up, it corrupted the databases.
The good news for custodial parents in Indiana is that the databases were repaired and although the child support payments were late last week, it does not seem to be an issue that will cause any ongoing delays with the delivery of child support.