State blames computer error for inaccurate notices sent to 250,000 : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

State blames computer error for inaccurate notices sent to 250,000

SACRAMENTO (AP) -- Embarrassed state officials blame a computer error for inaccurate letters that told 250,000 parents they were behind in their child-support payments.

"The letters were incorrect because they basically doubled the amount of money you owned," Sidonie Squier, a spokeswoman for the Department of Social Services, said Wednesday.

She said she wouldn't blame the parents for being upset.

"If some credit card company sent me one of my bills and it was doubled, I would not be happy either," Squier said.

The error occurred when the department updated its computer programs to comply with recent changes in federal rules, she said. The incorrect notices were sent out between July 2 and Aug. 19.

State law says noncustodial parents can have their driver's licenses suspended for nonpayment of child support. If they are in a profession licensed by the state, they can lose that license too.

The state began sending out letters late last week correcting the erroneous notices after county officials heard from parents who received the original letters.

One parent, Kevin Sheehan of Oxnard, called the Ventura County district attorney's child support division after receiving one of the letters.

He was alarmed because his $620 monthly payment to his son is automatically deducted from his paycheck.

"I thought, 'What the heck did I do wrong now?"' he told the Ventura County Star.

Despite assurances to the contrary, Sheehan says he "wouldn't be surprised if I went to the DMV in about six months and found out my license was revoked."

Squier said that won't happen.

"I truly do not believe he needs to worry about that unless it's related to something other than this," she said.

-- Homer Beanfang (, September 23, 1999


...and it finds them again...

Related story...

Published Thursday, September 23, 1999

New System Finds Delinquent Parents

By DARLENE SUPERVILLE / Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Nearly 3 million parents owing child support have been found since last October using an automated system Congress mandated to help locate such people, the government said Thursday.


-- Homer Beanfang (, September 23, 1999.

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