Child Support Payments and Social Security

Child support agreement
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 page about child support payments and social security.


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March 14, 2014

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.

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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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.

When in doubt, ask the question, write down the person's name and the answer, date and time, etc. If you are required to send information to the courts, make a copy before you mail it, and send everything certified mail, so you get a receipt. Most of all, be consistent, be thorough, and file things on time!


Source: My own experiences of 13 years fighting for child support.

By Eileen M. from Elk Grove, CA

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January 24, 2012

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.

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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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98 Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

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


February 25, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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February 26, 20140 found this helpful
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My daughter gets SSI. Her dad just started paying child support. It did reduce her check, but you can call Social Security and they can tell you the formula they use because some of the child support income will get disregarded.

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February 22, 2018

I receive monthly survivor's benefits for my 8 year old daughter because her mother passed away. Can my ex-wife have child support taken from those benefits?


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February 22, 20180 found this helpful
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Since no two cases will most likely ever have the same facts, you should always ask your questions at your Social Security office. They will always be able to give you the correct answers.


  • Survivors benefits (benefits for your daughter from her deceased mother) is not counted as income for you so no one should be able to take any of it for something you owe.
  • But you are responsible (and can be held accountable) for how you spend the benefits you receive on her behalf. Social Security can request an accounting of money spent so you do need to keep good records.
  • You can talk with SS about what type of information and records you need to keep and what is considered a justifiable expense.
  • If your daughter is still young and you also receive a "benefit" check (for looking after her if she is under 12 years old) then you need to discuss this with SS and it is always better to ask questions in person rather than over the telephone.
  • Hopefully you are employed and able to pay the child support that you are responsible for and there would be no need to be concerned about your daughter's benefits.
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February 26, 20180 found this helpful
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If your daughter is still living with you and you're still getting her survivor's benefits each month this is for her care. Your new wife can only get child support for your other children out of your pay. However, you will need to go to SSI and to an attorney to make sure this is right. But this money should not be counted as part of your income because it is used for your daughter and the money was from her mother who died.

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June 6, 2012

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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January 22, 2014

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.


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 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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October 5, 2017

Am I entitled to my ex-husband's Social Security for back child support? It's about $45,000. He recently passed away.


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October 11, 20170 found this helpful
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SSI and child support.

Step 1
You can file a claim in probate court against his estate for back child support.

Step 2
Minor child should receive death benefits,you must petition the social security in order to receive these benefits.

Step 3
Back child support can not be taken from supplemental security income.

Step 4
It can be taken from other SSI income.

Step 5
Here is a link that will help

Step 6
Contact your SSI office in your area.

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July 30, 2015

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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May 25, 2011

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


May 25, 20110 found this helpful

If he owes back child support, he owes back child support. That happens when you get involved with a divorced person who is supposed to be paying child support. I tried to tell my daughter that, when she was 20 and planning on marrying a man with a small child from a previous marriage. Specifically I told her she would end up resenting it and she did, then when their youngest of four was less than two years old the dad left for another woman and within a year they had a kid of their own. There were times he got behind on child support to my daughter because he was changing jobs, or whatever, he lives in another state, so he never go far enough behind for the state to go after him and bring him back. The daughter he has with his third wife has never had to go without anything and the wife doesn't work. Their daughter has the best clothes, takes ballet lessons, horseback riding lessons, and on and on.

My advice is hurry up and get a job, child support enforcement can't touch your wages. Whenever I talk to somebody who is considering getting involved with somebody, be it male or female who has to pay child support, because there is bound to end up being some kind of problems; I advise them to steer clear of the relationship. From what I have heard my former son-in-laws current wife had done her fair share of complaining because he is paying child support and their daughter has to go without because of it.

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May 25, 20110 found this helpful

I feel for you! Have you looked for jobs caring for additional children in your home or coming to their home? Caring for an elderly person in his or her home is another possibility. If you're not seeing advertisements ask about such jobs among friends or at churches.

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May 25, 20110 found this helpful

Go down to the social security department and talk to them. He should no longer be paying anything for the 21 year old and I don't believe he is responsible for the 19 yr old but I am not sure. SSD should be able to clarify what his responsibility is. Of course if it is back pay in child support that is a different issue. But talk to SSD to find out.

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February 6, 2018

Can my child's father be made to pay child support if my child is receiving my Social Security benefits and no longer getting his Social Security benefits?


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February 8, 20180 found this helpful
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The father has a responsibility to take care of his child, even if he no longer lives in the home. Considering you both seem to be on Social Security, I'd check with them first. Maybe they can deduct his payment out of his monthly check before he receives it. You'd have to talk with Social Security and a lawyer to find out what your right and the right of your child are.

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January 16, 2017

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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December 3, 2011

My child's father is on SSI and is court ordered to pay child support. I am told they can not garnish his check. I am also told they can not take his license or put him in jail for not paying child support. He is out here having all kinds of kids and doesn't have to support any of them. I don't think it is fair that he can have 10-15 and not be held responsible. What can I do to have him pay child support?

By Alexis S.

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