Child support is paid by parents, as mandated by the courts, to provide financial support to a child in their formative years. Laws defining how child support is allocated and paid are created to ensure a child is able to sustain their current standard of living, even if they only live with one parent after a divorce.
Child support laws vary by state but generally the courts calculate child support payments as a percentage of the noncustodial parent’s income. General factors which can also affect the amount of child support payments can include:
1. The number of children
2. The incomes of each parent
3. The cost of medical care
4. The cost of the child’s education
5. The cost of child care
6. Income taxes
Traditionally, child support payments were made by the father to the mother, but changes in living arrangements, as well as job opportunities for women, have increased the amount of child support payments made from the mothers to the fathers. Most child support payments are made directly through payroll deductions which has decreased the need for costly child support enforcement efforts.
Do I pay Child Support if I am receiving Social Security Disability Insurance?
One of the major concerns for custodial parents is what might happen to their child support payments if their spouse is disabled and is no longer earning a wage from employment. There are thousands of noncustodial parents who are disabled and unable to work and who must rely on the Federal Government each month for wage replacement monies through the SSDI or the SSI program.
If your ex-spouse or father of your child has been determined disabled you may have general questions about the laws governing the garnishment of their disability payments. Whether or not the SSA will allow the disability benefits to be garnished will depend on whether they are receiving SSDI or SSI benefits.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Child Support Payments
According to Social Security Ruling 79-4, “the Social Security Administration can withhold a percentage of a claimant’s Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI benefits in an amount equal to what SSA could withhold to pay delinquent income tax debt.”
So will SSDI be garnished for child support? Yes, but prior to this garnishment the SSA should contact the disability recipient and let them know that this deduction may be made. Another issue that may need to be discussed with a family law attorney is whether the amount that the non-custodial parent was paying prior to their job loss is still economically feasible, given their reduced income. It is likely the courts will reduce the amount of child support which must be paid.
Supplemental Security Income Benefits (SSI) and Child Support Payments
Supplemental Security Income or SSI is offered to disabled individuals who have VERY limited income and resources, who have not accumulated enough work credits for SSDI benefits, but who cannot continue to work due to blindness or disability.
The SSA notes that Supplemental Security Income is not generally seized for child support because it is considered a “public welfare benefit and is not derived from the claimant’s earnings record.” The SSA has also stated that SSI is like other public benefits which are not seized.
In conclusion, if you have a spouse who has been approved for SSDI and they have been paying child support you should expect to continue to receive some type of support, although it may be reduced. If the father of your child is now receiving SSI they may no longer be required to pay child support.
- SSA- Do disability lawyers help everyone? (disabilitybenefitshome.com)
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