Detroit — More than $1.6 million in child support has been collected in Michigan since last summer under a program that allows parents to make payments at local convenience stores.
The program, a partnership between the Michigan State Disbursement Unit, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and a payment application called PayNearMe, launched in August at about 550 Family Dollar and 7-Eleven stores. It expanded in March to include 250 CVS Pharmacy locations, officials said.
After setting up an account online, parents can make a payment with PayNearMe at the participating stores for $1.99.
Since launching, 6,200 payments have been made totaling $1.6 million — $91,000 alone from 350 payments at participating CVS Pharmacy stores, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
“We recognize it can be difficult to get to the courthouse to make a payment, or folks don’t want to make a special trip. Some parents prefer to pay in cash rather than check, credit card or online,” said Erin Frisch, director of the state’s Office of Child Support. “Offering the option to pay child support in cash at retail locations gives parents more choice in how they make their payments, and helps us reach our goal of being where our families are.”
The Health Department provides services for about 881,500 children and their families. As of May 2017, the cumulative arrears was about $5.67 billion. The debt is down from $6.34 billion in 2015, the department said.
The PayNearMe partnership is offered at 25,000 stores nationally and Frisch said many payments for Michigan children have been made from out-of-state.
Parent can make payments remotely by setting up online accounts with PayNearMe at misdu.com. The application generates a payment code to scan at the partnering stores. The payments can be made during the stores’ business hours.
“Providing an additional option for parents to pay support demonstrates our desire to work with families on behalf of children to make it as easy as possible to comply with their court order,” Frisch said. “The key is that this helps us meet our mission of seeing that children receive the support they need and deserve as promptly as possible.”