Chicago – Attorney General Kwame Raoul today commemorated August as Child Support Awareness Month by highlighting Illinois’ new law to improve the collection of child support payments and ensure families across the state receive the support they need to raise their children.
Raoul initiated House Bill 3301, which was signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker and sponsored by Sen. Mike Halpin and Rep. Terra Costa Howard, to amend the Unemployment Insurance Act to require employers to report independent contractors as new hires starting Jan. 1. The new reporting requirement will ensure that the Attorney General’s office is able to better ensure that non-custodial parents employed as independent contractors are meeting their child support obligations.
“August is Child Support Awareness Month, and I am proud to highlight the latest efforts my office is undertaking to ensure children in Illinois get the support they need. This law will help our child support attorneys in their vital mission to provide families resources by identifying the parents who do not pay their required monetary support,” Raoul said. “I encourage employers to take steps to make sure they are in compliance when the law goes into effect Jan. 1 by learning now about the reporting change that requires independent contractors to be reported as new hires.”
The Illinois Department of Employment Security maintains the state’s federally-mandated New Hire Directory, which is used by Raoul’s office and the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) to establish, modify and enforce child support orders for non-custodial parents. Prior to Raoul’s legislation being signed into law on July 28, employers were only required to report new employees to the New Hire Directory, not independent contractors.
“Whether they’re payroll employees or independent contractors, working parents have a responsibility to provide for their children,” said Costa Howard. “This new law will make life easier for single parents and their children throughout Illinois, by creating a powerful new tool to track down deadbeat parents and collect overdue child support payments.”
“This law gives the State of Illinois another tool to ensure that children receive the support they are owed,” Halpin said. “It will be much harder for parents who have abandoned the care of their children to hide from their obligations.”
According to the Attorney General’s office, the significant growth in independent contract work has resulted in a reporting gap that makes it difficult for the office’s Child Support Enforcement Division and HFS to identify income that is eligible for child support payments. As a result, Raoul’s office was often not able to identify independent contractor income from non-custodial parents who were not paying child support.
"The Division of Child Support Services, in partnership with attorneys from the Office of Attorney General, does vital work for Illinois children and families that helps improve their financial well-being," said HFS Director Theresa Eagleson. "The new employer reporting requirements in this law will provide more information critical to ensuring child support obligations are being met, thereby creating better outcomes for children and families across the state.”
The Attorney General’s Child Support Enforcement Division represents HFS in 93 counties across Illinois to establish and enforce child support orders, ensuring that children throughout the state receive the support they deserve. For more information about child support services in Illinois, visit the Attorney General and HFS website.