Computer glitch has dads fuming over letters (Indiana) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


November 10, 1999

Computer glitch has dads fuming over letters

By Michael Puente / Staff Writer

HAMMOND - Dads they are. Deadbeats they aren't.

About a half dozen angry men showed up Tuesday morning at the Child Support Division of the Lake County prosecutor's office here to get to the bottom of a letter stating each owes hundreds or even thousands of dollars in child support.

The men contend the prosecutor's office is wrong, as each said he was on schedule or ahead of schedule in paying his child support.

"How can I owe when they take it out of my check? I don't know what this is all about," said William Todd, 53, of Gary.

The 30-year Gary Fire Department veteran said the letter he received from the Child Support Division last week states he owes $825.

Todd says he has proof that the office actually owes him $500 for overpaying support for his 7-year-old son.

Showing up to the office didn't help much for the men, just a fraction of the hundreds who received the same letter. An office employee told Todd and others that a glitch in its new computer system is to blame for the bogus letters.

The men were told that each will be contacted in six to eight weeks. However, the letter states if the bill isn't corrected in 30 days, the state will move to hold their tax refunds next year.

Duane Newlin, 28, of South Haven said the division told him he owes $1,500. Newlin said the mother of his son confirms that he isn't behind in support payments.

"I'm paid on time. Sometimes I'm two or three weeks a head of schedule," Newlin said.

Last summer, in an effort to collect an estimated $350 million in back child support owed to Lake County children - the most in the state - the prosecutor's office joined the new Indiana State Tracking Computer System.

The system is supposed to help the prosecutor's office manage the 54,000 child support cases in its files. Instead, it has given the prosecutor's office headaches this week.

Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter confirmed Tuesday that there is a glitch in the computer tracking system known as CAM. The problem, according to Carter, arose when CAM generated the letters using outdated computer system information.

Carter said the letters even went to non-custodial parents who have been paid up for years. Carter said his office is working with state officials to correct the problem and may take everyone off the tax intercept program.

"I am sympathetic to those parents who have met their obligations," Carter said. "I assure them that our office is acting to correct the chaos caused by this letter, which was generated through no fault of our office or staff."

Carter hopes to have the problem corrected by January.

Back . . .

-- Homer Beanfang (, November 10, 1999


Doesn't anybody occasionally CHECK to see what their computers are up


-- Sam (, November 10, 1999.

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