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Garnishing Disability for Child Support

December 9, 2010

I am currently receiving child support payments from my ex-husband who is on disability. He was ordered to pay $551 per month according to my decree. We have been going to court because he is trying to get the amount lowered because he pays support for 4 others as well, but was not married to the mothers.

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Our children are 21 and 19 now, but he owes way over $30 thousand and $24 thousand of that amount is the principle, the other is the interest. His attorney is trying to get it lowered to $50 (can that be lowered that drastically?) because he is on a fixed income and disability.

At the DHS administration hearing I was told that the amount will probably be lowered since my divorce decree was so many years ago. The DHS representative said that although he was ordered to pay the $551.00 when we divorced the guidelines to garnish wages from his disability check are different now. They have, however, been garnishing the current amount from his disability check for the past year.

My question is why or how can it be lowered so drastically? Will I have to get a lawyer to fight this or what can I look into to make sure the change does not occur? Thanks.

By Donna from Tulsa, OK

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December 10, 20100 found this helpful
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I don't believe anyone who posts to this board is qualified to answer your question. Laws are different in every state. You really need the advise of an attorney from your state that is familar with your type of problem.

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June 5, 20110 found this helpful
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Unless the Social Security laws have drastically changed in very recent years, Social Security Disability can be garnished. I am still receiving back child support from garnishing his disability payments for my son who is now 30. And let me say, I did not live in a big house with a swimming pool. I lived in a 728-square-foot one-bedroom house with my son from his age 6 to 19 and we had no air conditioning until he was 17. We were never able to take vacations or even go to very many movies. I became an expert in finding free things to do in our small town.

My ex-husband always worked "under the table" so as to hide from us and to keep from paying taxes, etc. It was when my son's father went on Social Security Disability that we were finally notified that he had been found. I had registered with our local Missouri Support Enforcement Unit, but unless you are actually on welfare, locating non-supporting fathers is very low priority with them. I was never on welfare, my salary was always barely above the income limits.

Before hiring a lawyer, talk to your Social Security office first, it will probably require an actual visit. You probably won't even need a lawyer. They will tell you the documents you will need. Good luck!

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23 More 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 4, 2018

My ex's disability has been garnished since August. Missouri child support said they received nothing. The child support office says SSA has a hold due to the large amount.

SSA says they send it every month. And the benefits the children receive are credited to his amount every month. I am not sure what to do.

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February 5, 20180 found this helpful
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Make an appointment with Social Security. If you have no luck, contact the Legal Aid Society. A lawyer will represent you for free.

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February 8, 20180 found this helpful
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It sounds like you'll need a lawyer to ask for a court order to trace the funds owed to you. If both agencies are saying that one sent it, the other didn't receive it then there is an error in bookkeeping somewhere. Your money could be credited to another account because of a typo in the entry of your information.

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January 29, 2013

I pay child support out of my SS benefits. My arrears balance kept accumulating even though I wasn't able to work. Can that arrears balance be taken off to the date my application was filed and approved by the state for SSDI?

By Carl

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January 31, 20131 found this helpful
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Hi - it cannot be stressed enough that each case is sometimes different so no one can advise you but someone at your Social Security office. Go there and ask questions - please.

As a general rule SS/SSI/SSID have nothing to do with child support as child support is a court order and not the US government.
Child support is still owed even if the child/children are receiving SS benefits.

The court can sometimes set it up so that SS benefits can go towards child support but only an attorney can help you with this.
Free Attorney services are usually available for anyone on SSI.

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March 12, 2012

My son doesn't have his father's last name. His father is now disabled. Can he still receive benefits from his father's disability?

By Chastity

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March 15, 20120 found this helpful
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You'll need to go to your local Social Security office and speak to a representative. They will give you an application and a list of all the documents/documentation required. Be sure to make a photocopy of absolutely everything you give them, including your filled out application and attached documents, before turning it in because records do sometimes get lost or misplaced (I found that out first hand) and you don't want to have to start the process all over again.

And, yes, as long as you can prove your child is the fathers your child will most likely be able to receive an amount of benefits based on the fathers disability income.

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May 28, 2011

Do I need to hire a lawyer or does the D.A. file for a garnishment of my ex-husband's SSD benefits for back child support in Tennessee?

By vdl

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May 29, 20110 found this helpful
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Call the local Social Security office, they will be able to advise you on the best route to take. They may award more money for the SSD benefactor to cover child support but be warned they probably will not cover all of it. The extra money will be sent straight to the parent with the children and the balance will be the responsibility of the parent collecting SSD.
When I signed up for SSD I informed my SS councelor that I had child support responsibilities. They raised my SSD amount by a little over $600 a month but I was still responsible for $291 a month. Very acceptable all things considered. But if the spouse on SSD is a low life and doesn't want to pay, even if it is a lower amount, you may still need to a lawyer to get the balance. The Social Security office will be able to clarify. To my knowledge SSD can not be garnished.

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November 26, 2014

I recently was awarded disability by the VA. I have child support arrears and wanted to know is there any way they can be eradicated or reduced.

By James

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November 26, 20140 found this helpful
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You will have to talk to your local Child support Collect Office about this. It is free to talk to them. That being said, you created a child, children, and it is your responsibility to at least partially support them.

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May 14, 2011

Can child support take my back pay from SSDI that I get for my kids now?

By Clifford

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May 16, 20110 found this helpful
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If you mean your SSDI for you anything is possible depending on the state you live in. If you mean the supplemental for your children because of your disability I honestly don't think their money would be attached because it's for their expenses. The best thing to do is contact your local Social Security office and ask them what the rules would be for your particular circumstance.

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October 30, 2017

California Child Support has been taking half of my SSDI for child support. I went back to court to modify it due to my financial hardships and was sent a "zero support" order.

Will child support stop my garnishment now?

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October 30, 20170 found this helpful
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You now have to pay nothing for child support. That's what zero support means. They recognize that you don't have the money to pay. Your garnishment will stop. If your financial situation improves, you may have to start paying again.

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July 8, 2019

My fiancé is severely disabled as of three years ago. He started receiving disability payments this past August and the state takes his monthly child support obligatory payment every month from his check.

My question is this, since he still owes 9,000 in back child support, but is making monthly payments to child support are they able to start garnishing from his disability check for the back pay owed when they are currently taking from his check the current monthly payment decided by the courts? He received back disability pay in August and child support seized that and we went to court and set up a monthly payment plan. Please help anyone if you can, we live in Colorado.

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February 3, 2017

My ex-wife owes me 15k in back child support. She hired a lawyer so that she would be approved for disability. When she is awarded disability they will owe her a good bit of back pay. Will the back child support she owes be paid?

Does the lawyer get paid before anyone? She will owe him 8k. We both live in Louisiana. I am not sure what type of disability she will be awarded. She can't work due to severe anxiety.

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February 3, 20170 found this helpful

If she is on SSI disability, and has a very low income, she can ask that future child support payments be modified. She is still legally obligated to pay back child support, and the back pay may be garnished.

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February 4, 20170 found this helpful

I strongly suggest that you find the answer to your question NOW; do not wait until your ex-wife receives the back due disability. You can make an appointment with SSA (if the disability is SSA, if not, contact the correct disability entity), bring all required information,etc., and, this is important, make a list of the questions and concerns you have BEFORE the interview and bring the list with you. This will, hopefully, guarantee that you will have all the information you need regarding the back due child support.

Good Luck!

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February 5, 20170 found this helpful

You talk as if your ex-wife will definitely be awarded disability just because she hired an attorney to file. True - this is usually correct as attorneys evaluate a case before accepting it but I have seen them fail also.

How was the total back payment of this money decided? Have you anything legally stating this figure? If not, you will need to get that established as proof will be necessary.

I believe you should hire an attorney ASAP whether you visit Social Security or not. This is a lot of money and even a few days delay could mean you lost it.

If you decide to go to SS (a regular SS office can help you) or an attorney, you will need all of your original papers concerning divorce, support information, as well as all information concerning children involved and records of payments received.

Hopefully, your support was paid through a government agency as that gives you a quick, legal account of money paid.

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March 28, 20171 found this helpful

It depends on whether she is getting SSI or SSDI as to whether or not you will receive money. My ex-husband is 129k (you read that right - $129,000) in arrears for our 4 children. He was just approved for SSDI at the end of January. DCSE called me and told me. I did some research and found out that because he's approved for disability, that each of our children are entitled to auxiliary disability benefits. So, I went and filed for those on their behalf. Because he applied for SS a long time ago (Dec. 2013) they owed back pay. 40 months of it. I received just over 32k in back pay for the kids auxiliary benefits! Each child will now begin receiving benefits of $211/mo.

HE is also entitled to 40 months of back pay. So 40 x (whatever is SSDI payment is) That should be paid to me to pay for his arrears. Waiting to see how all that shakes out, as we live in different states and are at the mercy of each states DCSE to do their part.

The lawyer is only allowed to collect 25% of the back pay - up to $6,000. The lawyer may not collect more than $6,000 by law.

I very strongly urge you to stay on top of her case, as best you can. They won't give you her info, but if she gets approved, your daughter will be eligible for auxiliary benefits. Since she's just starting the process, it could take years. That's all retroactive to the day she first applies for SS. You will need her SS#. You might be able to find a way around it if you don't have it, but I imagine it could be quite the hassle.
When DSCE told me my ex was approved, I went the very next day to the SS office and made an appointment. My appointment was on a Monday and by Friday I had 32k in my bank account.

Good luck to you!

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September 8, 2016

It's been years since I've received child support. The local child support office took him to court years ago and of course he applied for disability (imagine that). Years later he was finally approved for his disability and that his back pay is being intercepted due to him having arrears.

Does anybody know how long the child support office holds onto these funds before disbursing them? I know that tax interception depends on them being married (hold for six months) or them being single they hold it for 30 days. I was just wondering how long they will hold the back pay?

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February 22, 20170 found this helpful

Sounds like you may be paid back for some of the expenses paid (maybe hardships?) that you endured. This is really great because so many go through this type of situation and never receive even acknowledgement and very rarely money.
You should contact and stay in touch with your local child support office that made the original case as they will be the agency with all the information.

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May 3, 2019

I receive disability every month and I want to get married. My boyfriend owes lots of back child support; would that affect my benefits?


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March 8, 2019

Does anyone know how long it takes when a SSDI check is garnished for the custodial parent to receive the funds? My ex got his back pay from disability over 2 weeks ago. I have an income withholding order in place from the court, and he told me they did take the money out, but I haven't received it yet.

I was told the US Treasury takes it and sends it to the Indiana Child Support office and they send it within 2 days from there. How long does it take for the Treasury Dept. to process it?

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September 4, 2017

If a mother has been ordered to pay child support and all at once she quits her job and sighs up for disability, does she get out of paying all the back child support that she is behind on? She is trying to get out of paying child support by signing up for disability and she is very able to work.


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June 3, 2017

From anyone's experience, are the Social Security Disability Insurance payments made directly to Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA)? A certain amount of money is being garnished and being paid to the child/ custodial parent.

I am not sure if this payment is paid directly to CSEA. I would appreciate any feedback. Thanks.

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June 3, 20170 found this helpful

From Nola.com:Garnishment of Your Disability Payments. If you are awarded SSI, your benefits cannot be garnished to make child support payments. If you receive SSDI and have been court-ordered to pay child support (or alimony), your benefits can be garnished to satisfy your legal obligation.

From this explanation, I would assume the payments garnished are going to the CSEA and then going to the guardian of the child.

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