Disability and Child Support: What You Need to Know
“How does disability affect child support payments?”
This is a common question often asked of family and divorce lawyers and disability lawyers.
The easiest answer is, it depends.
If you are paying child support and you become disabled, you will still have to pay child support mandated by the courts.
If the disability payment amount is significantly less that then your previous salary, you can petition the courts to lower the amount of the child support you are required to pay on your new income level.
Circumstances affecting disability and child support payments
Child support payments in arrears
If you have back child support payments to catch up with (arrears), the amount you owe will not be reduced because you become disabled. Only future payments can be revised.
Garnished Social Security Disability payments
If the court determines that your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) needs to be garnished, the child support can be taken directly out of your SSDI check. However, if you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the courts cannot garnish those payments for child support.
Back pay and past due child support
If you are owed money for back pay from your previous employment before your disability and you owe past due child support, a percentage can be deducted from the payment. However, they cannot take the entire amount.
Disability benefits for dependents
If you become disabled, it is possible that your child or children may also be entitled to receive disability benefits. If your child does receive benefits, that doesn’t mean that it replaces your child support obligation. This is an additional payment.
Questions about Social Security Disability and child support?
The easiest answer is to contact a Social Security Disability lawyer or family lawyer. Don’t leave it up to chance that you are interpreting the laws correctly.
***This is a guest post by Jennifer Hallman.
Jennifer Hallman is the Business Development Manager for Triangle Divorce Lawyers, a family and divorce law firm serving Raleigh, Cary, and Wake Forest in North Carolina.