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Child Support Payments and Social Security

When a parent who has been required to pay child support also receives Social Security, one or both parents may be confused as to how this works. There are certain permissions and restrictions on what can be garnished from Social Security payments. This is a guide about child support payments and social security.
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January 24, 2012 Flag

Your child is eligible to draw social security if one of his or her parents draw. If it is less than the court ordered amount, the parent would have to pay the extra. The parent drawing SS can also go to court and get an adjustment in thier payments. Most of the time what SS pays the child is about half of what the parent draws.

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If you call SS office or better yet, go there and they can answer your questions, Also, your County Atorney's office on child support can answer questions.

By HAPPYINHARNED from Harned, KY

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September 13, 20150 found this helpful

I'm a mother to a six year old girl. Her dad and I are not together. When he took me for visiting right. The child support took him in the room when I said I be right back . I had do something for my child. They didn't wait on me. They came out said he doesn't have pay because he was on ssi. It be nice if help me with her. I work as waitress wage now I can't work because I broke my foot. Is there anything I can do get help that I can provide for her.I still have some money to pay some but not all my bills. I try my best easier her on my own with out asking for help that is no one job but the parents. I think you bring a child in to this world you should help rain them. It's not fair to parents like me to do it all lone.

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September 27, 20160 found this helpful

Family law folder on desk

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

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March 14, 2014 Flag

It is my understanding that the following is true.

If you are divorced and have a dependent child and that child is receiving social security benefits, in most states, the benefit the child receives does indeed affect the amount of child support paid by the person responsible for paying child support.

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I am a father, divorced and have a young child. He lives with his mom. I pay child support in the amount of $1,200 dollars a month. When I retire, my child will be eligible to receive approximately $1200 per month in dependent SS payments (my monthly SS benefit will be approximately $2,400.) The child is eligible to receive 50% of my benefit on his own. It does not affect my benefit.

What most states do. They add the total of the social security benefits my child will receive in a year to my annual income for child support amount calculation only. This is not taxable income, it is just added to calculate the child support amount.

The monthly payment from Social Security for the child is then deducted from my court ordered support payment, recalculated after adding the child benefit to my income for calculation purposes only. So if I was paying $1,200 a month out of my own pocket and the child's benefit from SSA is $1,200, I no longer have to pay child support. If the SSA child support is less than the court ordered support I must pay the difference. If it is greater than the court ordered amount I do not get a refund of the excess.

So social security benefits for a dependent child can reduce or eliminate child support payments for the spouse who is legally obligated to pay them by virtue of your divorce orders. You can not double dip or receive both.

The dependent child does not have to live with the spouse paying child support. The benefit is due the child regardless as it is the child's wherever he or she is residing.

I have read many responses to questions saying the spouse obligated to pay child support has to continue to pay the same amount despite any social security benefits the child receives. I believe that is not true, at least for children of retirees.

By Bill F

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March 17, 20140 found this helpful

Social Security benefits seem to be a regular subject on Thrifty. I know from experience - working with people applying for SS benefits - and I can state from personal experience - every case is different.

Benefits have changed over the years. Sometimes a mistake can be made by the clerk at the SS office and you can go to a different clerk on another day and receive entirely different information. This rarely happens but it does not hurt to check if you feel something is not "right". Be sure to review all of the papers that you are asked to sign (then review the copies later).

Child support and SS benefits is one of the most difficult as there are so many variables. Veterans can sometimes receive free legal advice. I would advise anyone paying or receiving child support to seek legal advise (from someone who works in this area) if at all possible.

Free legal aid is available to a lot of people but many do not know how to find help. I would make it my business to research every avenue for assistance before I had a final "meeting" with SS officer.

Most people are honest but please keep in mind that all questions must be answered truthfully because this is one office that has access to everything! SS system is set up to "make the rounds" and find everything with your (or who ever) name and SS# (just like the IRS!) if anything stated runs up a "red flag".

Truthfully, most SS questions are easily answered by SS clerks so that is the best place to start because answers from anyone else may be from "personal" experience and would not apply to your situation.

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December 15, 20160 found this helpful

Photo of letters spelling out child support.

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This is a guide about Social Security and back child support. Certain types of government programs can have their disbursements garnished for child support.

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January 31, 2012

My solution for problems with child support payments is that you must absolutely document EVERYTHING and keep that documentation until either the non-custodial parent dies and any children are over 18 or the end of time, whichever comes first.

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January 6, 2012

In the case of SS benefits and child support etc, the answers are readily available from the SS office. Call the SS office or go on line to them with your question and your problem is solved.

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Questions

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March 4, 2017 Flag

My disability check was being garnished for child support by court order and processed by Social Security. My daughter turned 18 last December and I received a notice that my support had been terminated. Then the same month I received a notice from SS again stating that she started college, so the garnishment would continue until she graduated. So I was never without paying and they pulled it out in Dec., Jan., Feb., and now March. Then I received another letter stating that she actually never started college, so the SS office said again I was not obligated to keep paying. Yet, they never stopped garnishing me. So I would ask, how do I get my over payments back? I use direct express. Will they put it on the direct express card or how will I get it?

thank you

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March 5, 20170 found this helpful

I reread your question and since your support payments are handled through the court, you may want to contact someone in that office as that is probably the office that will have to cancel the garnishment of your SS disability check.

You should reread all of the part in your divorce dealing with support as that is where your garnishment is coming from. Sometimes it is worded with the length of time (months/years) the child has to start college after high school but if it does not then you may have problems if the child enters college later. Check this out as you may need an attorney to make any changes to this degree. If you do not have a copy of your divorce you can obtain a copy from your court house records.

Very important - Social Security can tell you if the garnishment has been canceled/stopped but they cannot stop a court order as only another order from the court can do this.

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February 18, 2017 Flag

I am a grandparent raising 3 grandchildren. The parents were ordered to pay child support and not much at that, but anyway they have never paid a dime in 2 years. Now the mother is bragging that she will never have to pay me because she just got her SSI. My question is this, can the children draw on her SSI and receive a check also? This is completely unfair, I have to pay for everything for all these children and she won't even buy them a birthday present. I have to take the kids every other weekend to spend 2 hours with her for visits. And now she is bragging she don't have to pay. I think the law should say no child support, no visits.

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February 19, 20170 found this helpful

Some things differ according to the state the parent or children live in but if the order you received was through your court system then you may be able to get some help but if she is getting SSI they will most likely not honor any past money owed.

You really need to go to your SS office and take all of your court papers as you will need SS numbers for everybody involved.

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January 16, 2017 Flag

Social Security is sending money to the wrong child support account; what can we do? They won't give us any tracking information other that to say it went to the Sacrament office of child support. California, the originating jurisdiction, doesn't know where the funds are and keeps referring us back to Colorado, the jurisdiction of our residence. And Colorado child support can't get an answer from Social Security! Madness. What do we do and who can assist us in getting this taken care of?

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January 20, 20170 found this helpful

Go to the ssa locally in person and sit until you see a supervisor

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February 9, 2017 Flag

My ex owes me over $5,000 in child support. I obtained an order from the court last May 2016 for $2900. In October 2016, my ex was approved for Social Security since he claims to have a disability. I received my first disability check in January 2017, which is $1056. My child support amount is $420. Will the court subtract the $420 from the $1056, and then add the $636 towards the money that is owed from the $5,000?

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February 10, 20170 found this helpful

Sorry - I have read your question several times and still do not understand it.

You state your ex has applied for SS disability but then you state YOUR first disability check (are you on disability also?) will be $1056. ??

Anyway, Social Security and the court are the only ones that can answer questions pertaining to SS benefits and child support.

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June 3, 2016

My ex-husband was just approved for disability (SSI) and is receiving one check for himself and one check for our daughter. Should I (she) get this check in lieu of child support? (or in addition to?) He has moved two states away and doesn't plan to see her much aside from a few weeks in the summer time, so I am not sure why he should be getting a check made out to her. Can anyone clarify for me? Thanks!

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June 10, 20161 found this helpful

He's not allowed to get the check for her because she does not live with him, she lives with you and because he is receiving the check he can get in big trouble.. that money will go back to you and he would have to pay it all back your daughter should be receiving that check.. my daughter receives a check because her dad is on SSI as well she never sees her dad never she's actually not allowed to buy a court order that I receive a check for her from Social Security you have to go to the Social Security office and file paperwork stating that you received it and she's also receiving money for her and she's not with him it doesn't matter if she's with him sometimes or not he's still not allowed to have that money because she's living with you most of the time

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February 25, 2014

My son has autism. He receives SSI. I am in the process of getting a divorce. My soon to be ex wants child support for him. If she receives child support will it effect his SSI?

By bbcookie45

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February 25, 20140 found this helpful
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The amount of SSI a person, whether that person is an adult or a child depends on what other income there is in the house. Anyway that is the way it used to be. If it is still that way the child support will affect the amount of SSI your son receives. You should talk to your local Social Security Office.

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July 30, 2015 Flag

I am 8 months pregnant. Yesterday, the father quit his job and told me he would not be working "for a while" because he is trying to get SSI. His mom is struggling financially and so they are trying to convince his counselor that he is "unable" to work and I think she is falling for it. I am meeting with her next week. We had a written agreement he would pay for daycare and verbal agreement he would help with my rent, when I would not be paid, for the last month for my maternity leave.

When I asked him about that, he said I should give our baby up for adoption! I will, of course, find a way to pay for the daycare. I already cut off my cable and started saving even more, and am prepared to support this child on my own. I don't feel I should have to by myself or give my child away like he suggests.

Once my child is born, I plan to file for child support since he has been unstable and inconsistent for my last 5 months of pregnancy. I used a support calculator and it stated that he can use his mental illness to get out of paying even though he is perfectly capable of working! He has been working and/or in school for the past 3 years! Is this true? Has anyone else filed for child support while the non custodial parent was either applying for or receiving SSI? What was your amount? I make 2300 a month, but I have bills including rent, car insurance, daycare for my 8 y/o (300 a month) and daycare for this one will be (500).

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July 31, 20150 found this helpful

A clarification in your questions:

It appears that you intend to apply for and expect to receive child support from SSI during the application and hearing process. This is not correct. Nothing is paid to anyone until a court hearing officer decides the father can receive SSI. The only SSI child support you might receive is only if the father wins his case and this will be many months and even years away.

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January 22, 2014 Flag

My ex pays child support. He is court obligated to pay 70% of my daughter's medical. We have been divorced 13 years. I have never had his support raised. I remarried, so I never pursued him for his part of the obligation.

My current husband died last year. My daughter collects SS survivors benefits as his step-child. As a single mom, I can no longer pay her medical bills on my own. My ex carries insurance on her. He has an HRA which is always empty when she needs it, so I pay out of pocket. If I take him to court to raise his child support and try to collect on his part of her medical bills, will she lose her survivors benefit?

Will her benefits be calculated as my income, possibly lowering his child support obligation? I'm a full-time student with a part-time job, making $100 monthly. Our daughter is 16. He hasn't contacted either one of us since she was three. He just hangs up on me when I call.

By Carolina S.

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January 23, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

I do not know which state you are in, but we live in GA. While raising a troubled Grandchild, we had to sue each parent for child support. As others here have suggested, your state's child support enforcement office should be able to handle having your ex's matters examined. They are able to garnish his pay and have the money sent directly to you. We were able to receive back support and medical expenses, as well.

You also can go, (plan to spend a long time), to the Social Security office. Your daughter's SSI may change if her child support is increased. Does she qualify for medicaid? That would cover her medical bills.

Also, try contacting the Patient Advocate Foundation. com.

They try to match you with sources that may be able to help you with medical bills and prescriptions. I wish you luck.

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June 6, 20121 found this helpful

My ex is collecting Social Security. He never paid me child support the whole time my children were growing up. He worked under the table all those years and I never could collect, so I put a 10% interest on the unpaid balance. Well Social Security is taking his Social Security from him to pay back support. Can they take all your money when you owe child support?

By Donna

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July 26, 20160 found this helpful

Yes. Just go to the SSA with their SS card and shot records. Just went thru it today.

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October 9, 2016 Flag

My ex and I have shared custody and since the divorce he has began receiving disability SS and receives a monthly check for our daughter also. My question is, since we do have shared custody, would I be entitled to half that check for my daughter?

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October 9, 20160 found this helpful

Only SSA can answer your question. You can make an appointment with the local office and bring copies of all information with you to verify the custody agreement.

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June 4, 2016 Flag

My eleven year old daughter hasn't seen or heard from her biological dad since she was 16 months old. He initially threatened to "take her away" from me, but when I explained I would ask for child support, he lost interest, which was for the best as he was very abusive. As a result, I have never received a dime of child support from him or any government program. Recently it was brought to my attention that he is fighting stage four squamous cell carcinoma, and I'm wondering; if he files for disability, would I be able to make a claim for my daughter to benefits? Would he be privy to this if I did? Even ill, he would be spiteful enough to try to make my life a living hell if he thought I was taking away any of his control. Should I just wait to file after he's deceased, if that does happen? Or, if he should beat the odds and live a long, healthy life, could she sue him for back child support after she's an adult? Any and all help would be appreciated.

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Anonymous Flag
September 5, 20160 found this helpful

You must go to SS with her BC and info. If he is not on it you will need a paternity test. You will not get anything going back if you dont file asap. I am in the same situation. My sons father was legally dead for 19 minutes. He and I were not on good terms at the time due to his GF . She filed his SSD and failed to put down he had a minor child. So I had to go and file for him. If I didnt my son would not have gotten the money he should have. And I also know how it is when they are abusive. only you know the answers, and he can not take your child. Near death changes people. do right by your child.

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November 8, 2015 Flag

For the past 2 years my young son has been receiving $1000 a month from Social Security as I am collecting full Social Security. I also have been paying the courts $260 a week for child support which is $1040 a month. From what I have been reading I should not had to pay the the child support of $1040, but only $40 a month as she receives $1000 a month from my Social Security. Is this correct? And if so would I be entitled to credit in the back child support that I have already paid?

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November 10, 20150 found this helpful

Social Security may be able to help you but you will probably have to talk to an attorney (maybe the one who helped you with your divorce) because the decision for any change may have to go through the court.

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May 25, 20110 found this helpful

My husband and I have 3 children together. He has 3 children with his ex-wife. Two of his children with his ex-wife are grown (specifically 19 and 21). She has been on welfare for years.

My husband was injured and has not worked in 4 years. During this time he was fighting for Social Security. Now that he has been approved, they are taking over half his check to pay back child support and the 19 year old and youngest child are also getting SSI checks. I have lost my job and my children are the ones suffering. What can I do?

By jjfab from Portland, TN

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November 3, 20150 found this helpful

Sounds like your the one that is being resentful Joan. Someone that think they are in love will not listen to you advising them to move on because the other party has a relationship with someone that has a child. jjfab, regretfully Joans one piece of advice about finding a job is correct.

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In This Guide
Court Paperwork regarding a child support hearing.
Collecting Child Support
Categories
Business and Legal Legal Child SupportDecember 2, 2011
Guides
Family law folder on desk
Can SSI Be Garnished for Child Support?
A disabled student studying in a wheelchair.
Child Support for a Child Receiving Disability
Photo of letters spelling out child support.
Social Security and Back Child Support
A book that says family law.
Collecting Child Support Owed by a Deceased Parent
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