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Can SSI Be Garnished for Child Support?

Category Child Support
Some state and federal assistance programs can be garnished to pay child support. This is a guide about "Can SSI be garnished for child support?".


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0 found this helpful
February 23, 2011

My ex owes $25,000 in back child support and just got SSI with a lump sum of money how does that work?

By ppattt from Fort Myers, FL

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February 6, 20130 found this helpful
Best Answer

SSI can absolutely NOT be garnished for child or spousal support.

I waited the 5 years to allow the SSDI to drop away so that I could SPECIFICALLY collect SSI (I 'owe' a great deal of ransom...errrr...'child support') and flip the bird to the ex.

Further, all 'license suspensions', ie : drivers, professional, hunting, fishing, ect....are null & void once SSI kicks in. (including, but not limited to passport seizures).

I can't tell you the satisfaction I feel when I mail a copy of my SSI award letter to (along with a note with a middle-finger watermark) to support collection unit demanding they void their driver's license suspensions once a year.

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July 22, 20130 found this helpful
Best Answer

No! SSDI and Social Security can be garnished for child support, but SSI can't be garnished. The reason is that SSI is not considered as income, in the sense that the recipient earned it or that it comes from earnings that was paid in to Social Security. SSI does not come from the Social Security fund, but is given to low income people who don't qualify for Social Security or SSDI, and SSI is not considered as income, like Social Security and SSDI is.

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February 24, 20110 found this helpful

Ditto on checking with your social security case worker but, as far as I know, just because you received a lump sum for back disability pay is not going to let your ex off the hook for what he/she owes. Be sure to talk to your case worker about benefits for your children if they are minors and/or still in school. Also, talk to them about possible taxes on the lump sum so that you're prepared if you might owe any. There are special rules for disability income.

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February 24, 20110 found this helpful

I and it sounds like others are confused about who received the lump sum payment. If you are owed support immediately file a claim with your child support office they will know the laws better.

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February 25, 20110 found this helpful

Yes! I would call division of child enforcement and let them know. They will take out a lump sum every month until the debt is paid in full.

Good Luck!


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March 31, 20110 found this helpful

The Reason that SSI and the large back-pay lump sum cannot be garnished is because:

In the case of disability there are 2 types of income,



SSDI can be garnished because they worked and this is their reward I guess, but because they worked for it and it's a larger amount of money they can take it and they will before he gets it, thats including the back-pay-he won't get a cent of that.

SSI (supplemental security income) is, well, poor people.

Its more of a low-income needs based income for people that didn't have enough work credits to get SSDI so the law says that nothing can touch that money because there isn't enough of it there to garnish.

As for SSI's back pay, thats a loop hole in the process. because nothing can touch the monthly money the back pay is a lump sum of the monthly money he should have been getting the whole time he was waiting so they can't touch that either.

In your situation if he didn't give you any money out of that then he is the bastard and I think that you can take him to court for that money but until then his monthly child support bill will add up and he'll probably lose his drivers license.

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April 3, 20110 found this helpful

RIckyAlatorre, The thing you are incorrect about is the difference between SSDI and SSI. I am disabled and I worked for 35 years (most of them 50 to 80 hours a week) and paid in to the social security system all of those years! I was put on SSI because of the severity of my medical condition, current financial condition and hence current needs.

Just wanted to let you know that SSI does not necessarily mean a person was poor and had not paid their equal share in to the system for the majority of their life before needing the assistance we paid for that the government did not 'invest and earn interest' as originally promised would be done! No, the government ended up putting that money in the general spending coffers instead! Had the government originally kept the investment promise there would be plenty plus more of interest earnings to cover all who are 'truly' entitled!

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November 1, 20150 found this helpful

In Arkansas they don't give u one large amount but three different installments and normally they will garnish whatever before u even see it but here they dont do child support garnishes because my dad has been on disability since I was three and when they divorced i was 13 I still haven't got anything from him and he still gets a check!!! And my sister gets a check and her babydaddy has custody of their kid he couldnt even get a child support case started shes disabled!!!! Kinda messed up cuz he needs help and my mom did to theres 10 of us he didn't have to help pay for!!! System failure!!!!!:( and they don't all treat u w respect trust me my moms is mean and rude all the time and doesn't like to listen!!!

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July 28, 20160 found this helpful

still true in 2016/17?

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November 20, 20160 found this helpful

I have been on as I for 11 months 2days ago I went to the bank I have direct deposit I had $54 but account balance said $4 they said I need to contact child support they gave me a number I got a voicemail saying state franchise board what do I do ?

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0 found this helpful
March 28, 2017

I have an ex who filed for child support. I know she can't get anything because I get SSI. But they made me take a DNA test for two kids. If one of the kids ain't mine are they going to make me pay for the DNA test for the kid that ain't mine and for the kids that is mine due to me getting SSI?

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March 28, 20170 found this helpful

"They" as in the government, state (?) is requesting you to take a DNA test. Wouldn't they be the one supplying the test though?

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March 29, 20170 found this helpful

I would assume the government is paying for the test. I know that people who have to take drug tests prior to employment don't pay; the employer pays.

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March 29, 20170 found this helpful

When they are ordering it and having you do it, you are not liable for the expense.

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March 30, 20170 found this helpful

You do not say who "they" happens to be so we cannot say whether you will have to pay or not. You should have received a paper showing your responsibility for payment (or non-payment) when you were "made" to have this done.

There must be a reason your ex is having this done but it is true that child support cannot be taken out of SSI (but can be taken out of SSD).

You need to talk to whoever "made" you do this for your answer (someone other than your ex).

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0 found this helpful
June 2, 2016

My children's father just recently went and filed something that stated that he is not ordered to pay child support to me anymore due to him receiving SSI. He has paid in the past and it was a very small amount for 2 kids. I have done everything. I went to the child support office and now am being told that if I wanted to receive any type of support then I will need to hire an private attorney.

Is there something that can prevent the other spouse from paying child support for the kids due to this parent receiving Social Security income? Please help and steer me in the right direction. I don't get it. I have never seen a state send correspondence stating that the father is not responsible after the children are legitimized.

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June 3, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

Only the Social Security Administration can answer your questions. You can make an appointment at your local SSA office to address your questions.

If your husband is not able to work and is receiving benefits from SSI, the child support payments should be deducted from his benefit and paid to you for your children. You should check with SSA for answers.

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February 23, 20110 found this helpful

My ex husband and I have been divorced for three years. After the split he filed for SSI with a claim of mental health issues resulting from my leaving, and he got approved.

So now I have a three year old little girl who literally gets nothing from him and I was wondering if since he gets SSI if she could draw from that and receive help as well. There is no court ordered child support agreement, since he had no income at the time I filed. I just said I could do it on my own (I really really just needed him to stay away from us). So what can I do now?

By Heather from Indianapolis, IN


Can SSI Be Garnished for Child Support?

The child should be eligible. Check with your social security office. (12/03/2010)

By certifiedinsane

Can SSI Be Garnished for Child Support?

SSI cannot be garnished for child support. If he were receiving Social Security Disability (SSA) benefits your child could also be signed up to receive from his account. Unfortunately, unless he becomes employable and gets a job and ceases to receive SSI or is somehow deemed eligible for SSA/disability benefits, you are at a stand still on receiving anything from him. Sorry. (12/03/2010)

By curious74432

Can SSI Be Garnished for Child Support?

Call your Child Support Office and ask them some of these questions. (12/03/2010)

By redhatterb

Can SSI Be Garnished for Child Support?

Don't ask advice from people who may not give you the correct answer. Look at the different answers you got from here. My opinion is that you can get something for your child. It will not be taken from his benefits, but will be based on his benefits and will come from Social security. Please call or go to your local office. They will not "run you through the mill". That is not what they are paid to do. They will treat you with respect and see that you receive anything you are entitled to. (12/03/2010)

By Lilac

Can SSI Be Garnished for Child Support?

I agree, contact your local SS office. My ex was on S. S. disability and he worked with his case worker to get S.S. benefits sent to me for my son. I was lucky enough to get over $500 per month for several years until my son turned 18.

By kathyj311

Can SSI Be Garnished for Child Support?

As others have said, seek the council from the Social Security Office themselves. The are very helpful with these situations. The only thing not in your favor is there was no court ordered support at the time of your divorce. They may say he has no legal obligation to you and not be able to help. The only thing you can do then is ask him directly. Sorry, it doesn't sound like he has any interest in helping you and your daughter.

The only other possible thing would be to consult a lawyer. If you were not awarded child support at the time because of him being unemployed then that might be something that can be changed now that he is on SSI. From your description it sounds like he is actually on Social Security Disability. That is a whole other ball of wax. Again talk to the SS Office. (12/03/2010)

By Suntydt

Can SSI Be Garnished for Child Support?

Go to this website: (12/04/2010)

By yoder178

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
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