Can Benefits Be Seized for Child Support?

by Jul 5, 2017General

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Can my disability benefits be seized for child support?

Your Social Security Disability (SSD) income is safe from most debt collectors, including credit card companies, banks, and auto finance companies. However, if you owe child support, the courts can garnish your disability check in certain situations.

Fortunately, you have several options available to stop the seizure of your disability benefits for child support. A qualified disability attorney at the Disability Advantage Group can examine the specifics of your case and advise you on how to move forward. Call 865-566-0800 today for a consultation.

What types of disability benefits can the courts seize for child support?

Whether the courts can seize your disability check for child support depends in large part on the source of your disability income. The two types of disability income are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

SSDI is more of an insurance benefit than a welfare program. The program draws its funding from payroll taxes. Each time your employer deducts Social Security taxes from your income, you are paying the program’s premium. Like any other insurance product, you have to pay these premiums to qualify for benefits. To receive SSDI when you become disabled, you must have paid into the system by working a sufficient amount of time.

If you become disabled but do not have a sufficient work history, you might qualify for SSI. It is a welfare program designed to provide money for basic sustenance to low-income and low-resource disabled people.

The distinction between the two programs results in different protocols when you owe child support. Because SSDI derives from your earnings from work, the law considers it fair game to repay child support. However, since SSI is a public welfare benefit, the courts cannot seize it to pay any debt whatsoever.

How much can the courts seize from my disability check?

The amount the courts can take from your SSDI check depends on your state. Unlike with other forms of garnishment, no set maximum exists for child support.

Instead, the court issues a garnishment order for a certain amount from each check based on the laws of your state. The Social Security Administration (SSA) complies with all valid garnishment orders for child support and will not hear appeals to its decision to garnish your check in response to a court order.

If you disagree with a garnishment order, we can help you file an appeal directly with the court that issued the order. Our attorneys have experience fighting on behalf of clients facing garnishment for child support. Call us today for a consultation.

What options do I have if I am facing disability garnishment?

Aside from filing an appeal with the court that issued the garnishment order, we have several courses of action we can take on your behalf in the event of a child support garnishment.

We can ask the court to modify your child support obligation. We can also increase your benefit amount by applying for SSDI for your dependent children.

Child Support Modification

The courts may modify your child support obligation if your disability prevents you from paying the amount originally ordered. We can get a modification in two ways. If your relationship with the other parent is amicable and they are sympathetic to your disability, it might be possible to approach them directly to modify the terms. If they agree, the judge simply has to sign off on it. This method saves you time and court fees.

Chances are, though, that the other parent is not willing to accept less money without a fight. Therefore, we would need to file the appeal directly with the court. The court has the option to issue either a temporary or permanent modification of your child support order. We will aggressively pursue a permanent reduction on the basis of your disability and reduced earning capacity.

SSDI Benefits for Children

We can also help you get SSDI benefits on behalf of your children. This can increase your monthly benefit amount and ease the burden of your child support obligation. Unmarried children under age 18 are eligible for benefits. If your child is 18 years old but still in high school, their benefits will continue until they graduate or until two months after 19th birthday—whichever comes first. If your child becomes disabled before turning 22, you can receive permanent dependent benefits on their behalf.

Our disability lawyers can help you.

Regardless of your unique situation, we can help if you are facing disability check garnishment for child support. We will pursue your case aggressively and ensure you get to keep the maximum benefits available to you. Call us at 865-566-0800 today for a consultation.