How does child support affect my disability benefits?

How Does Child Support Affect my Disability Benefits?

If you are responsible for paying child support, you may wonder how child support will affect your Social Security Disability payments. Will your benefit checks be garnished? How much will you have to pay? There are a number of questions that disability recipients may run into when the issue of child support arises. Here are answers to the most commonly-asked questions. 

Will I Still Be Responsible for Paying Child Support?  

If you become disabled and begin to receive disability benefits, your obligation to pay child support does not stop. You will still be required to pay the child support that has been mandated by the courts.

What if I Can No Longer Afford to Make My Child Support Payments?

If the amount of your disability payments is significantly less than the amount of money you made in the past, it goes without saying that paying the child support may become financially stressful.

 While you will still have to pay child support, you can request that your child support payments be modified. You will have to petition the court to lower the amount of the child support you are responsible for based on your new monthly income.


Will My Child Support Arrears be Adjusted Based on My Lower Income? 

If you owe back child support, the amount that you owe will not be adjusted, even if the amount that you have to pay in the future is reduced. Any modifications made to monthly child support payments do not affect the child support that you should have paid in past years.

Can My Disability Payments Be Garnished? 

Whether or not your disability payments can be garnished depends on which type of disability benefits you receive and whether or not your child support payments are current. SSI (Supplemental Security Income) disability payments are made to people who have a very low income. 


These payments cannot be garnished for child support payments. SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) payments, however, can be garnished to fulfill child support obligations.

Can My Back Pay Be Garnished? 

If you are entitled to a lump sum of back pay and you owe past-due child support, your back pay can be garnished to satisfy this debt. While your entire back payment will not be taken from you, a percentage of it may be garnished in order to fulfill your child support obligation.

Will the Money I Am Getting in Allowance Benefits Replace the Child Support I Owe? 

When you receive disability benefits your dependents may also be eligible to receive auxiliary benefits under your name. Many people mistakenly believe that the disability payments that their children receive go toward the child support that is owed. This is not the case. The family allowance is not used to satisfy any child support obligation. Any money that your dependents receive from disability benefits is in addition to what you owe in child support. The two are not one and the same.

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