Understanding S.E.T.S

Why was S.E.T.S created?

The Ohio Department of Human Services (ODHS)

developed the automated Support Enforcement

Tracking System (SETS) to effectively manage the

Child Support Enforcement Program in order to meet

the requirements mandated by the Family Support Act

of 1988 (and other mandated or revised requirements

implemented since 1987).

The main objectives of SETS is to provide an online,

central database with complete federally-mandated

child support functionality distributed to each of the

88 local Child Support Enforcement Agencies.

SETS is designed to support front-line child support

professionals in a wide variety of tacks including

collection, allocation, and disbursement of support


Hoes does S.E.T.S. determine the amount of my

support checks?

Incoming money, or collections, is allocated in a

pre-determined order, or hierarchy.  "Hierarchy" mean

a structure with higher and lower priorities.  For our

purposes in child support enforcement, it means that

money is applied first to the support of the child, then

to spousal support, medical expenses and agency

processing fees.

SETS has a standard hierarchy, determined by federal

and state laws and policies.  In its daily and monthly

accounting, SETS applies these policies.  Current

obligations are paid before arrears but the payment

priority is always: 1) child support, 2) spousal support,

3)medical, and 4) agency processing fees.

Think of incoming payments as a pitcher of water

and child support, spousal support, medical expenses

and processing fees as empty glasses set-up in a row.

The child support glass is filled first.  Only after the child

support glass is filled will the spousal support glass be filled

and so on until all the glasses are filled.


Are there exceptions to these priorities?

Yes. Payments received from the Internal Revenue

Service (IRS) or Ohio Department of Taxation

(ODT) may be allocated to reimburse past public

assistance received by the custodial parent.  Court

orders may affect allocations, the most common

occurrence being payments received from the

Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (OBWC).

Attorneys representing non-custodial parents who

receive a workers compensation settlement often

obtain a court order for payment of their fees from

the statement.


Why are withholding orders issued for a monthly


A withholding order or Notice to Income Provider to

Withhold Obligor Income/Assets is issued in a monthly

amount because employers or income providers follow

a different payroll/income cycles: weekly, biweekly,

semimonthly, or monthly.

To determine how much support should be withheld

from each payroll/income cycle, follow the formulas

are used:

Notice Amount X 12 months / 52 weekly payrolls = payment

Notice Amount X 12 months / 26 biweekly payrolls = payment

Notice Amount X 12 months / 24 semimonthly

payrolls = payment

What if I have an order for a weekly or biweekly

support payments?

The CSEA administers weekly or biweekly support

orders on a monthly basis.  To determine your monthly

support amount, the following formulas are used:

Weekly Amount X 52 weeks / 12 months = Monthly Amount

Biweekly Amount X 26 weeks / 12 months = Monthly Amount

Why is the total amount of my weekly support checks

less than the monthly amount ordered?

There are actually 4.3 weeks in each month, not

just four as most people assume.  You will receive

the difference in support during those two months

each year when there are five weeks.  Just as you are not

being "overpaid" when your receive that fifth check during

those months, you are not being "underpaid" the remainder

of the year.

How often should I receive a support check?

When a withholding order, referred to as a

Notice to Income Provider to Withhold Obligor

Income/Assets, is first issued, the income provider

or employer has fourteen (14) days from the date

the CSEA issued the withholding notice to begin making

the deductions from their weekly, biweekly, semimonthly

or monthly payroll/income cycle.

Once the payroll/income cycle has been completed, the

CSEA has seven (7) days to receive the collection.

This period allows issuance of the collection through

the employer/income provider's administrative

process and for U.S. postal delivery of the collection

to the CSEA.

Upon receipt of the collection, the CSEA has two

(2) business days to process the collection through

SETS.  Your check is then printed and mailed from

a processing center located in Columbus, Ohio.  The

time frame for postal delivery from Columbus may vary

due to location of your residence, legal holidays and

seasons such as Christmas that create large volumes of

mail.  A reasonable allowance for U.S. postal delivery

is four (4) days.  To determine if a collection is past

due, you can complete the following formula:

Date payroll/income cycle ended + 9 days + postal

delivery = receipt of collection

Do holidays affect when I should receive a

support check?

Yes.  Both the U.S. Postal Service and the CSEA

are closed on New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr.

Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day,

Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving

Day, And Christmas Day.  The CSEA is also closed on

the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.  These

holidays may delay our receipt or distribution of a collection.

U.S. Postal Service delivery also begins to slow during

the Christmas season which extends from Thanksgiving

Day in late November to December 25.

Can my support check be delayed for any

other reason?

Although it is extremely rare, it is possible.  Computer

networks are vulnerable to damaged telephone lines,

power outages and other technical problems. SETS is

no exception.

How will I know if my support check will be delayed

due to technical problems?

The Ashtabula County CSEA Payment Processing

Hotline is available by calling 440.994.1279.

This outgoing message is available 24 hours per day

from your touch-tone or rotary phone.

How may I obtain information on my S.E.T.S.

support checks?

The Voice Response Unit (VRU) is available by

calling 1.800.860.2555.  This automated system

is available 24 hours per day from your touch tone

or rotary telephone.  By providing your social

security number, you may obtain payment

information, check information and balances dues

as of the last completed business day.

What if I do not receive a check within these

times frames?

The CSEA request that you allow an additional seven

days after the receipt of collection date before contacting

your CSEA Service Representative.  If you have still not

received a check that was distributed to you, we will

contact our financial institution to inquire if the check has

been cashed.  if the check has not been cashed, a stop-

payment order will be issued and a check will be reissued

to you.  If the CSEA learns the check was cashed, a

criminal investigation may be necessary.

What is the collection date for a support check

and why is it so important?

The collection date is the day the employer/income

provider issued their check to the CSEA or the day

the absent parent issued a money order, back draft

or personally came to the CSEA and made a cash


The collection date is important because it determines

what month's support obligation it is allocated to.

For example, an employer issues the CSEA a check

dated January 31st which is received by the CSEA

on Febuary 7th.  The CSEA processes the employer's

check and SETS distributes a check to you on

February 9th which you receive in the mail on

February 13th.  Even though you did not receive

the check until February 13th, the payment is allocated

to January's support obligation as the collection was

made on January 31st.

If I still have a question about my support check

what should I do?

Call your CSEA Service Resprentative

at 440.998.1110 or toll free at: 1.800.935.0242

Cases are assigned alphabetically by the custodial

parent's or caretaker's last name