October 17, 2019

Can disability benefits be garnished to pay child support?

I am often asked if Social Security Disability Benefits can be garnished to pay child support payments. The answer of this question depends on what type of Social Security Disability benefits you are receiving.

If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the federal government does not allow these benefits to be garnished. SSI is given to lower-income individuals – those individuals such as the aged, blind, and disabled who meet certain low income and resource levels and do not qualify for Social Security Disability (SSDI). The federal government funds SSI through general tax revenues so that the qualifying individuals can pay for expenses such as clothing, housing, and food. Because the federal government treats SSI as a public welfare benefit and not as income for the purposes of child support payments, they do not allow Supplemental Security Income benefits to be garnished.

On the other hand, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be garnished to pay child support payments. SSDI benefits are funded from the money you as a worker paid into the Social Security system (through employment taxes) when you were still working. The amount of SSDI benefits you get is based on how much you earned/how much you contributed into the Social Security system (via taxes). When employees become disabled and are unable to work, these SSDI payments act as a replacement of income. According to the federal government, because SSDI is considered a substitute for lost wages, it can be garnished for child support payments.

A benefit of SSDI is that children of the disabled workers that receive SSDI payments may qualify to receive SSDI benefits until a certain age as well, and these payments can be subtracted from the child support owed.


Jonathan Ginsberg practices Social Security disability law in Atlanta, Georgia.  He represents clients in claims before the Social Security Administration.


  1. michael nichols says

    If im paing child support as ordered including an amount to pay down back child support and just got approved for ssdi, ssi can foc take the lump sum payment or is there a limit to how much fo that payment they can take if so what is that %

  2. Nancy Edwards says

    I have been divorced from my first husband since 1989. I recieved child support from him for approx. 6 month, from Sept 1989 – March 1990 for 3 children. My ex husband quit his job to avoid paying child support. I believe he is collecting disability, but I do not know if it is (SSI) or (SSDI). My question: Am I entitled to back child support? My children now are all grown adults.

  3. Edwin Castillo Escobar says

    I just wanted to ask about something. I am a father that got sole custody of two gils, that are 3 and 4, and the mom is disable. she suffers from depression and cannot work. My question is I spoke to my attorney and she said that I can ask the social security for payments because the mom cannot pay child support to me. I do make have a decent hourly wage, but child care is very expensive to me , I have a baby sitter at the moment, but soon she won’t be able to take care of the girl, I am looking at daycare. The prices for each child are expensive I by myself cannot afford with all other bills I have the day care. Can I qualify for help because the girls mom is disble?

  4. What about the other way around — does child support count as income when applying for SSDI?

  5. if the mother is receiving the payments for children from ssdi can what you get be subjected to child support

  6. @Alex:

    That’s what I wanna know! I’m on SSDI in Texas and has a two year old that I am having to also support on my very low income SSDI check. Can I recieve child support from her dad or will they just take it out of my SSDI check. I’m not going to file if they do. Child suport can be very weary and not stable!

  7. Jay Rivers says

    How am I supposed to live on a disability check that is585….heck… my rent is 450 a month. Is there some sorf of help or assistance that I can get. like maybe housing or food..something? I would greatly appreciated. I am severely depressed. am in pain and misery every single day.

  8. Jay Rivers says

    How am I supposed to live on a disability check that is585….heck… my rent is 450 a month. Is there some sorf of help or assistance that I can get. like maybe housing or food..something? I would greatly appreciated. I am severely depressed. am in pain and misery every single day.

  9. Shannon R says

    Can my child collect social security if father is in prison?

  10. Keith Scott says

    I’ve been diagnosed with various mental illnesses for 25+ years, since the age of 14, and applied for SSI about 15 years ago. I went through the standard rejection letters and initial hearing and was told what information I still needed to get. Meanwhile, DSS (child support) scheduled me for a hearing, to take place 4 days prior to my SSI hearing.
    I spoke to my child support case worker and showed him the appointment paper for my SSI hearing, and was assured that they court would delay the child support case until after the SSI hearing could take place. However, upon showing up for court (Washington Co. Circuit Court, Hagerstown, MD.), the special prosecutor for DSS claimed to know nothing of my SSI claim, and when I entered my appointment letter into evidence, he, Timothy Gordon, convinsed the judge, Kennedy Boone, that I was playing the system and had my incarcerated long enough to miss my SSI hearing. Needless to say, I was denied …

  11. i was wondering if my husband would have to pay child support being disabled in a wheelchair? he says no but i say yes and i want to leave but i have no income and 4 children he has been the provider for many years i only worked temp at christmas time to help out because i have to be here for him,, would he have to pay child support with his disability ss?

  12. Jonathan Ginsberg says

    Sheri, this is a legal question that needs to be answered by a lawyer in your jurisdiction who can sit down with you to review all of the facts of your case.

  13. My boyfriend suffers from severe depression & can not work, therefor receives SSDI. Just recently he got a letter in the mail stating that half (I don’t know the exact percentage) of the SSDI amount is going to be garnished for Child Support. We live in Texas. Is she allowed to take that much out? What is the minimum and maximum percentage that can be taken out of SSDI for Child Support?

  14. My husband is receiving SSA benefits due to his disability. He is devorced and married to me now. He has been separated and devorced from his ex-wife for approximately three or four years. They both have two kids together, but he has not seen them since the day they got separated. Yet, his ex-wife and both of their kids each get a check from his social security. She was supposedly getting paid a check for taking care of my husband and his disability, but she stoped taking care of him since before they got separated. He is unsure if the kids are his due to my husband finding out that she cheated all throughout the marriage, but she hasn’t served him with child support papers for he could find out if the kids are his or not. From what we have heard from my sister-in-law is that my husband’s ex-wife is living conditions with the kids are unhealthy in the way that she takes them to live from place to place under dangerous conditions from what she’s exposed the kids too, and that she remarried eventhought she was seeing dating a bunch of guys in the past, and works under the table. From time to time my sister-in-law receives messages from her saying that she’s taking the kids to live to another state. My husband lost the custody of the kids due to a restraining order, but now he wants to know what he can do for the sake of those kids, and for her not to take them out of state without his consent. He would like to cut his wife off his SSA benefits, but not his kids. He also wants to file for custody rights, but nobody knows where his ex-wife is living or hiding. I’m trying to help my husband, that way he can get his kids back or at least have the right to see them again. Those kids don’t deserve to be out living on the streets under unhealthy conditions. How can my husband cut his ex-wife off his SSA, and how can he find out her address if any to file for custody? Thank you!

  15. i get my ssi can they make me pay for back child support iam mild mental retarted i go to court on the 25 of this month can they put me in jail

  16. and i live in west virginia

  17. I have question concerning a parent who receives SSI benefits as well as SSDI benefits. When a non-custodial parent receives both benefits, can the SSA garnish the SSDI benefits for child support without touching the SSI benefits? Also can the SSDI benefit amount be used in calculating guideline child support?

  18. Jonathan Ginsberg says

    Leslie, I think that the child support recovery unit can garnish the SSDI part but never the SSI part. I also think that the SSDI benefit amount can be used in calculating child support but that issue will be specific to the jurisdiction where the child support matter is being heard.

  19. i receive social security disability, new york state, with an annuity for my minor daughter. I had sole custody for over 15yrs, had a disagreement over house rules, she opted to move to dad’s instead of doing her grounding time…now he petitioned and got sole custody, and we were in support court over the change of circumstances….the judge ordered my check to be garnished monthly. I had already started to transfer the annuity to her dad as the representative payee for her. I had read online that in new york the courts allow the annuity to be reduced by the support amount, thereby not garnishing my check. Our judge told me that that is not the case, that the “higher court” does not reduce the annuity. My only income is my disability check which starts at $1067/mo with the medicare of $96.50 being paid out leaving me with $971 a month. I also have a small pension from my employer of $366 a month. Those funds are a direct deposit which covers my mortgage payment. The judge ordered my support obligation to be only $185/mo, which is the 17% figure. This reduction of my check now puts me below the level for the current self-supportive reserve level. The judge told me that i would no longer be responsible for my share of any un-reimbursed medical expenses. I had child health plus insurance for my daughter, that will have to be transferred to her dad now as she resides with him. Can you tell me if I should challenge the Courts findings in respect to the payment of the support monies. I feel they should be taken from the annuity relative to a case called Passaro v Passaro taken from the New York Law Journal (p3, col1) July 25, 1995. I read website: http://www.brandeslaw.com/child_support/social_security_and_child-support.htm thank you for any help you can provide.

  20. I am trying to get representation for SSDI but no one wants my case because even though I will be receiving back benefits if my case is won, I owe back taxes. Will the IRS take my back benefits or can my representative get paid first then the taxes be taken out?

  21. i have a question my ex wife is trying to get child support from me but i get ssi and i remarried and have 2 little ones. Can she get any child support from me through my ssi?

  22. first, my ex husband just got approved for ssdi, I just found out that my son is entitled to child benefits, I have a phone interview this coming friday, my ex owes back due support, and wants me to wipe it clean…. is my child entitled to the back due support still, and will they take it out of his large lump sum he has coming?
    second, who pays the taxes on the child ssd benefits, me or my ex?

  23. William Danaher says

    I am on ssdi and am paying off past due child support. Can the state of Vermont assess penalty and interest on the past due amount. Both of my children are adults and never required any financial aid from the state.

  24. @Nancy Edwards: No if it was SSI, Than no, SSDI would cost you as much in court cost and lawyers as you would get!

  25. This all depends on the state you live in. Every state has it’s own and different laws. Illinois can’t touch your SSDI or SSI!! THAT’S THE TRUTH AND DON’T LISTEN TO ANYONE TELLING YOU DIFFERENT!! ILLINOIS can’t touch your Disability unless your stupid enough to give it to them!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anyone one living on Disability needs every penny they get to survive!!! Just because a person gets sick and can’t work dosen’t mean the goverment can bully and abuse the disabled and poor!! I THINK ANY STATE OR COURT THAT TAKES DISABILITY FROM PEOPLE THAT ARE LIVING BELOW THE POVERTY LEVEL ARE NOTHING BUT MONSTERS!!! WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO HEAP MORE STRESS ON A SICK PERSON? WHY?? IS THIS THE NEW OBAMA CARE? MAKE THE SICK HURRY UP AND DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. I rep’d myself thru an ugly divorce. I wound up having temp orders reversed and gained custody of my children thru trial. My ex during trial admitted to recieving SSI payments and that she had a “ticket” from SSI to work. She “does” work under the table, yet it’s for her married bf and I can’t prove it. She is court ordered to pay C/S (yet doesn’t). She filed a motion to reduce her amount of support (278 a mo. she get’s 674 in SSI)and we went before the judge and he denied her motion. Now, I find out she has the AG’s office filling a motion to modify on her behalf, and a funny twist they have filed a motion against her to be heard at the same time for a Judgement on Arrears. I have pro=se’d and I haven’t been notified of this officially.
    A) How does the Ag’s office sit at both tables????
    B) How often can I get driven into court for the same thing?
    C) Can the Court Order payments to be made by a family member or significant other (keep in mind he pays her home phone, cable, internet, cell phone, auto insurance, bill’s etc)
    D) And what are the chances she would get a reduction when she isn’t paying anyway?

    Sorry so long winded, Mark

  27. @sheri: im not a lawyer but my dad had to pay my mom when i was young.He was on ssdi yes just file for it with a separate address.

  28. FeliciaC says

    I have read a lot here but still sort of confused. My son’s father had a stroke and became disabled. Even before getting sick he was behind in support. Almost a year after his stroke I recieved a lump sum check for social securtity cover almost 3 months of ssdi payments. I just assumed the child support would stop. it is continuing to add up even though I advised them that the father would not longer be able to work. The father received notification that his ssdi payment would be garnished for the back support. The father told me that since i am receivng ssdi payment for my child which doubles the amount his child support obligation….the books would be wiped clean because it all evens out. I am not sure if that is correct. Am I correct when thinking the payments my child receives fro SSDI are totally different from the child support obligation? Also, since im receiving ssdi dependent benefits that are much more than my child support order, will the back child support just go away. I dont want to be in a position where i have to pay money back to the father who has gone years and years without supporting his only child.

  29. Jonathan Ginsberg says

    Felicia, sometimes the auxiliary benefits arising from a non-custodial father’s disability will serve to offset on-going child support and sometimes they do not. You need to take a close look at the child support order and if that does not clarify, you should speak to a child support lawyer for advice about how to proceed. I agree with you that guessing about the implications is not a good idea, but the issue of offset varies from state to state and case to case.

  30. My daughter had a baby 3 months ago and she receives medical and food stamps assistance though the state of RI and no cash assistance. (2 questions)The father receives both SSI and SSDI and HIS mother is and remains the rep payee on his checks, Now being an adult , can he remove his mother off as rep payee and handle his own funds ?(Does he have to go through any mental evaluation to have her removed as payee ?)Because that is what HIS mother told my daughter and i don’t believe that story and really don’t now, since i worked and never received any state or government assistance in my life. I think so she can just give him dips and dabs at a time and controls to spend his money. My daughters child support court date is coming up soon and I do know that the state will garnish his SSDI check/EBT card and how does that work with his sorry mother being on as rep payee?


  31. My brother is in jail for back child support, his daughter is grown like 22 yrs old. And my brother is on ssi and isnt able to work, how would the Texas do that to get back child support, does he have to pay it??

  32. Jonathan Ginsberg says

    @Penny: Penny, there are two different legal systems at work here. SSI is a federal disability benefit. It cannot be garnished, even for past due child support. Contempt for not paying child support is a state matter. The state can incarcerate your brother for not paying. He would have to convince a state court judge to release him on the grounds that he has no capacity to pay now or in the future.

  33. Jonathan Ginsberg says

    @NANA: I believe that the Social Security Administration has to agree to remove the mother as rep payee. You don’t say why the father was on SSDI – if it is because of a mental issue, he might have trouble having his mother removed. If the father’s SSDI is garnished, it will be done before the funds get to the current rep payee.

  34. Jonathan Ginsberg says

    @sally c: They cannot garnish your SSI, however a state court judge could incarcerate you for not paying.

  35. sabah Abbas says

    I am living in kentucky I devorce my wife I have baby . but I recieve ssi $264 & social security $577 still need pay child support . thank you

  36. My Ex-husband had shoulder sergery and up untill this year i have never had to worry about getting child support cuz it was taken right out of his pay checks. He is on disability now and after this shoulder heals he is going to have the other one done. my question is he pays child support every two weeks he has only made one payment this yr. and has now missed 6. Can child support be taken out of his dissability and how do i go about this. He was real civil with me on this matter at first and then we started not getting along again because of other reasons now he says he has no intention on paying anything.

  37. jason smith says

    i have a friend who is deaf and recieving the ssd and she is planning on divorce and the father hass the full custody and can the father take child support out of mother ssd ???? the mother is deaf and has a ssd i think it is impossible for the mother ssd to be garnishment from the ssd since the income is low please leave me a info thank you….

  38. julie prince says

    @sally c: sally if u recieve ssi payments they cannot make u pay.however if u recieve ssdi payments they will if u have enough income.if u only have a 500 dollar benefit they will only make u pay 50. also u will not go to jail,they will work with u,if u are on ssi no worry at all.they cannot put u in jail for inability to work,once u are disabled by the state u are no longer refusing to work,they cannot put u in jail for lack of child support due to disability,so u need not worry,just tell them the truth and everything will work out,i am on ssdi and they told me nationally those are the rules.

  39. julie prince says

    @Leslie: yes most likeley because they recieve both ssi and ssdi they are reicving the minimum payment,that happened to me,i worked enough for ssdi but not enough for a full benefit so they suplemented it with ssi,u will have to have the monies put into the calculation,,but seeing as the income is so low,they only charge $50. for child suppot a month.they looked at my iincome when i went to my hearing and they didnt even have me come into the courtroom ,they said just a minute,and came back out and said because u are at the minimum payments from ssdi we will only be allowed to mak u pay the minimum child suppot payments,which is $50 each month,they tried later increasing it to add $25 for medical and the court official laughed when he saw my income and wouldnt even consider adding another $25 to it,he said u cannot even afford the $50 u are paying now.lol

  40. I am on SSDI due to a chronic medical condition and recieve $890 a month plus $222 for my son on my claim. He resides with me. This month I only recieved $20 of the $890 but did get my sons payment of $222 direct deposited into my checkign account. I cannot afford to pay my rent in full, buy grocerys, fuel my car, pay utility bills on just $242 a month. I do get CS of $358 but the father is nto reliable in paying this on time or the correct amount. Also, I never recieved a notice from SSA office regarding this drastic and significant change. How am I suppose to live? I am so sick and tired of this and at times just feel like ending it all!!!! Why does SSA office play these games not lettign me know in advance so I can prepare!!! Don’t they understand my son and I have to live!!! Help!

  41. I made some bad desissions. My daughter gets SSi and i spent it on rent, utilities and also blew it on personal bills and food for the house. This has been going on for 2 yrs. I didnt realize what i was spending until i looked at the bank statements. I want to stop her SSI, but will i go to jail or just have to pay back what i spend on my personal stuff. Im not a bad person, just made a very bad choice.

  42. My child is 25 yrs old and I’m still paying child support because of her disability or disable as a adult. And were never married to her Mother is this fair? And she do get a SSDI check. Live in South Carolina.

  43. I have been behind in support payments for a long time now and have had over 100 jobs to try and keep up with the payments, within the past few months i started recieving disability on my back, im getting backpay from SSDI and SSI, I went to court this morning and the judge ordered me to pay every penny of my backpay from the SSI portion towards child support and said if i didnt pay every penny i would be sent to jail for 6 months. How is someone who is fully disabled and unable to work going to be able to get 569/mo total SSDI with 324/mo coming out of that for support ???? Is it legal for a judge to order me to pay my SSI? i have been low income most of my life and have been dealing with my ex’s harrassment now for over 12 years. My ex is friends with the child support lady which i thought was conflict of interest, her uncle just spent the last 16 years as the sherrif of the city she lives in, and the not so funny part is, i was taking her to court today to have my payments lowered because i cant afford what im ordered to pay…..is there any help to be had for me????

  44. So my ex-husband finally just got his disability approved after an almost 3 year battle. I applied for benefits for our son and got approved and also got approved for back pay in one lump sum of almost $16,000. What I am wondering is, will this affect MY unemployment benefits? I am very grateful to be receiving this money after no child support for almost 8 years, however I cannot afford to lose my unemployment. Do I need to claim this as technically it is not a payment to me, but our son? Thanks for any info.

  45. @Tanya:
    Re living on a fixed income isn’t easy for any of us.Alot of people do childcare or housecleaning under the table to make it.And I would find out why they took your money.I am sure there was a mistake.After all why would you get your sons and not yours? I would advise you to go to your local ssi office right away.I am sure if you calmly approach the situation, they will be more than happy to help you.Also look into going back to school online or at a local campus.You are allowed to work up until half of your amount.Best of luck to you and son!

  46. @michael:
    they cant collect from your ssi.And find out what the maximum amount allowed in your state is for back support.I am a female who has the same issue.My x is a real piece of work.And has always had the money to pay for a fancy lawyer.I have been ordered to pay my entire ssdi when it comes in.I was told they can only take the sdi.And that they cant touch the ssi./ even the back pay.I will ask my lawyer before I pend a dime.I would advise working under the table etc. You will most likely have to give the back sdi. Talk to a free legal service in your state. best of luck to you! They will send you to jail.They did it to me a single mom of two! Family had to pay 2300.0 to get me out! Just pay the morons and be done with it.

  47. i’m a disabled truck driver collecting social security due to a heart attack and a stroke i’ve been separated since october 2010 divorce was final on july 21st 2011 she gets $968 a month for my 2 girls from social security in new jersey i moved to florida in march 2011 to try and start a new life she let me have my 2 daughters down here for a month she went to court on july 21st i did not have to go i have pay an additional $25 aweek child support now she is threatening me with she controls everythingan don’t have to letmy girls come down here with me anymore but yet she has had 6 or 7 different guys at her house that since november 2010 around my daughters ages 7 and 8 and they told me this my 8 year old told me she did not like this these guys each had spent at least one night there my daughter said all of these guys she met online dating sites now she finally hooked one 38 years old never had any kids after 1 month she moved him in now its 3 months later and she wants them to call him dad and they don’t want toand he is not working i’m afraid that she is spending this money that belong to my girls on these men not to mention they have an older half brother and sister from a prvious relationship before me whom i raised for 11 years and they call my 8 year old fat and all kinds of names because she is a little chubby they want to live with me but i know i can’t do anything about it because of my medical history when i talk to her about how my daughters feel she said you can’t do anything about itbecause for one of my medical back ground and i live in florida and they live in new jersey she constantly uses my girls against me which is not right andnow she lives at her fathers house with this new guy andher dad has several ellegal guns stored at that home and she moved in another couple is there anything legally i can do i would like summer with my girls every year

  48. I live in Ohio and i get 674 social security disability because of my back and leg bones and am unable to work. The father of my children (who lives in WV) got custody of them because I could not afford to keep my two children…he has had them for over a year and finally had child support agency send me a letter this morning stating he wants 355 dollars in child support. I am now pregnant again due to failed birth control and am wondering how I am expected by the state and government to pay him that much when I am pregnant and barely making by as it is.

  49. My ex husband is on an SSi check but had started working a few years ago and I was receiving child support.Well he stopped working again and hasnt been working for almost a year now so I no longer recieve child support. Can a judge order him to get a ticket to work from social sec and that be his share of child support? He is capable of working. I dont even know how he ever was granted SSI in the first place. he’s been gettting it since he was a child but there isnt anyhing wrong with him now.

  50. I want to know, can the children of a deceased parent who was a Veteran and on disability,who never paid childsupport recieve his payments? The children are now adults and has never gotten a dime from their biological father. Now, it’s believed that the deceased sister may be collecting his disability payments. She lives in New Jersey and his children lives in North Carolina. So, what can be done about this situation?

  51. if you know if the a parent applied for SS but not sure for which one they have gotten cause they don’t speak with you and leave you the dark with stopping paying Child Surpport about 3 years ago and but blames his Disability for not paying and said he filed but the our child is still under 16 of age and don’t know about anything if his SSI or what ever SSA he has recieved to make sure the child can get child support or not..really confused

  52. I have a 33 year old son on Adult Child Disability ( drawing off of deceased father) . Can child support be garnished off this since it is not on his earnings?

  53. Leonard Davidson says

    I’ve recently been made aware through my local child support enforcement office that my ex has recently been approved for ssdi and I should start to recieve some back support and arrears.
    It has been over 4 years since recieving any financial child support. I also rec’d a copy letter from my ex’s lawyer where they are going to try and get a hearing to probably prevent or at the very least reduce what it owed in back support.
    Our youngest of two will turn 19 this month. I had taking my ex back to court several times and as a result accrued more legal fee’s than my entire divorce/custody trial cost.
    Following my divoce and custody battle my ex had her wages garnished and after a year left her job, from that point on, she was able to stay under the radar and has always found a loop hole or hatched a scheme which always favored her.
    I am afraid to say I finally see some light at the end of the tunnel.
    My question is this, are the benefits garnished until she has satisfied the total amount that she owes? Or do they offer a reduced amount without consulting me or hearing the whole background story?

  54. Anne Carter says

    I live in WA state and was recently put on disability through Worker Comp in my state. I pay child support each month for one child. This money was deducted from my checks weekly. Last year I was off on disability for four months and the support was never taken from my check, at that time, and I mailed in what I could…going into arears $2,000 (which I caught up within six months). I was wondering if anyone knows if the laws here have changed mainly because I will be off work for a longer period this time?

  55. @Greg
    @Greg from Illinois – Yes, you most definitely can get child support from SSDI payments in Illinois. I am getting back child support from my son’s father’s SSDI & my son is 24 years old. It started in January 2010. I never asked them for it- he was on SSDI for a few years prior to this. They just garnished his payments & started sending it to me (yes, in Illinois). Also – Just wondering if you think a father who doesn’t help support his child & leaves a single mother with barely any income to raise their child with no assistance from him is a monster, too?

  56. If you are a custodial parent in Illinois reveiving back child support from the non-custodial parent’s SSDI, what happens if the non-custodial parent dies? Does any money still owed get paid?

  57. Michelle Jones says

    i reside in fl and have a 10 yr old. the non custodial doesnt pay child support. he is in the arrears $21,000. FL has tried for years to get support but whenever he did work after we werent together it was off the books of course. he hopped states to LA in hopes of escaping child support. he moved in with another woman who, like me, took care of everything, so it was easy to free load. she bought him a motorcycle and he had an accident which now gives him ssdisability. LA realized he was receiving these monies and immediately deducted one months child support payment. since then he had his ssd appointed atty stop anymore payments from being sent to me, although they are still being taken out of his monthly ssd, LA is holding the money because the noncustodial set court for 01-12 trying to say FL didnt notify him properly and isnt responsible for the arrears. so now FL will provide LA all the info showing all the different ways and times we tried to contact and collect. its just a ploy to get out of paying, no one needs to be told theres a good possibility there child might need a meal, clothes and heck how bout a roof over their head. any advice? court will be in LA in 01-12 should i go? i know LA is representing me just wondering what your thoughts are. of course i need help. im a single mom working only part time.

  58. i recieve ssdi and ssi and in my paper work it shows where they are taking out child support out of my ssi.they take over half of that and now starting in jan 2012 they are taking another 137.00 and i have one of the two children living with me and have been paying on him for past 2 years. have tried to contact ss office but cant work a comp very well and have no phone to speak of.idk what to do or how to do it. will u please send me an email and direct me of what to do

  59. christina pereza says

    Okay I have a question regarding the child support and R.S.D.I. benefits. My son’s father gets these benefits and my son gets a small amount out of this now his father refuses to pay child support due to this fact, So now we are having to go to court in regards to this matter. I just need to know that in these last 10 years that man has done nothing for my son, In regards to paying for child support can the judge make him pay child support even though he is on disability

  60. Sharon Williaams says

    My son has always paid more than the court ordered child support and is disabled due to Freidrachs Ataxix.
    He recently turned over his SSI benifits for his daughter to his x wife to ensure the child support is paid and she has money for the future. This is way more money than she was receiving and now she is throwing a fit for more.There is no way he will evewr be able to work again. He is confined to a wheelchair and needs help for to function on a daily basis.
    He barely makes enough to pay his house payment and we as parents take up the rest. He is in heart failure and continues to get worse. There is no cure.
    she denies visitation regularly, for what ever reason, and her new husband harasses him regurarly.
    He just wants to see his daughter.
    There may be dead beat dads out there but he is not one of them!
    We need help to see what options are out there to make sure she has money for the future and to make sure her funds are not being used to pay other things for their family which consist of two other children from new marriage.
    Can you advise?

  61. Jonathan Ginsberg says

    Sharon, every child support obligation begins with an order by a state court judge. When arriving at the amount for a non-custodial parent (NCP) to pay, the state court judge will take into account the earning capacity of the NCP, the earning capacity of the custodial parent, any special needs of the child and other relevant factors. It sounds from your email that your son’s child support obligation was ordered before he became disabled. If so, it appears that his circumstances have changed, so the next step would be to go back in front of the state court judge to ask for a modification based on (1) the change in his earning capacity and (2) his limited source of income, i.e. his SSI. This would also be an opportunity to address the visitation and harassment issues.

  62. Sharon Williaams says

    Thank you Sir. What about the matter of the SSI benifits for his daughter . Since they are based on his disability , can he enforce that theybe put back for her future and not day to day bills for the new family?

  63. Sharon Williaams says

    He is disabled but his Dad and I make sure that sure everthingg is good . Could his wife be waiting to deem him incapable of taking care of his daughter? if we go to court and what would our input matter to a judge that we are the responsible party for his daughter or do we go there?

  64. Angelique Kraft says

    Jonathan, my daughter receives SSI and is a minor. My husband and I are apartment managers in Wisconsin, and don’t pay rent. They take $125 out every month for food and housing. They just started doing this recently and i’m not sure why. They say the money we don’t pay is considered income. It doesn’t make any sense to me. Can you explain this?

  65. I was awarded child support and it has never been paid. Recently, I received a letter from the Attorney General Office saying “Our office has been informed that other parent in your child support case is currently mentally or physically unable to work” — Where do I go from here? It is unfair that he has never given anything to our daughter, financially or emotionally in six yrs. and now the state is allowing him. I just need advice on where to go from here.


  66. My husband is on social security disability and his ex-wife is going thru the jefferson county court house in arkansas to have is income guarnished for back child support is it possible for her to get all or part of his disability guarnished this is our only income we are fighting the amount the court house is saying we owe because she has not turned in any of the back pay she got when he became disable and has not turned in any of the monthley payments that the child has gotten for almost 2 years. can anyone help me to find the answers i need. i read a post someone had wrote about having a mental disability and how this kind of stuff can kill you i know first hand what this can do to someone with a mental disability my husband suffers from a mental disability and having this to happen is physcially and mentally killing him.

  67. ArcheryMaven says

    Mr. Ginsberg – I’ve read all of the comments here and am looking for some clarification. I am a resident of New York and pay child support based on what I was making when I worked (it was ruled that I caused my own unemployment when I moved across state and had to resign my position due to travel). I was recently approved for SSDI. I don’t know what my monthly payment will be yet, as I just received approval notice last Friday.

    I’ve read that my child support “can” be offset by the SSDI auxiliary payments made to my son. By “can” does that mean it is up to the judge to decide, or is it a given that support is offset by SSDI? If it is a judge’s decision, how is it figured out whether or not the offset will be granted? I read somewhere about “unjust” support amounts being the only justification for an offset. Can you explain what I should expect when filing for a modification of support under these circumstances, please?

    I pay hefty weekly support amount, but am fairly certain I will not be able to afford that on SSDI and know there will be a downward modification granted. I just want to make sure that I’m prepared when I petition the court for what the outcome will be – whether I will be paying the standard 17% with no offset, or paying 17% with the offset…or if it’s a case of ‘it depends’.

    I appreciate you taking the time to explain this to me – I’m very confused and just want to be prepared…I don’t want to wind up with arrears or have problems with the custodial parent because I’ve misunderstood anything. Thank you!

  68. A friend with a mental disability stays with me, and I am his rep payee for SSDI. In 2010 he received a large lump sum, both SSI and SSDI. Several months after receiving the lump sum payment, he was advised he needed a rep payee. When I applied to be his rep payee, we informed the SSA of his two minor children, who are in foster care. Nobody can tell us if the children have received the lump sum payment or are receiving monthly payments.

    We are in Illinois. Today he received a copy of a letter from the Dept. of Health and Human Services, directed to SSA; and the letter indicated to “freeze any lump sums” he may be eligible to receive. I’ve researched the Illinois law and cannot see where they can take some of his SSDI payments towards the past due child support. One child will reach age of maturity this year; the other in two years.

    Can they take some or all of his monthly SSDI payment?

  69. @Jay Rivers: Hi Jay Rivers, I’m not sure what state you live in but you can get help. You can getting public housing assistance (section 8) program. Also you can get food stamps to help with grocery. Their are other programs that can also help assist you with utility as well. You will have to ask your local health and human services or call 311 for assistance. Hope all this information help you. Blessings

  70. Hi my name is colleen and i’m very distraught right now because i believe my ex who i think is getting disability is claiming my son (who i support entirely and lives with me full time) as a dependant? How do i handle this? i have supported my son on my own his whole life. this year when i went to claim my son on my tax return it wouldnt let me? could this be because his father is recieving money thur ssi for the child by claiming him? I it really possible that not only is the ex not paying child support in YEARS but actually making a couple extra bucks by claiming the child is his dependant via ssi and therefore pretty much stealing from not only me but our son????

  71. Need advice 80004 says

    back in 94/95 i was approved for SSI. back in WVa where me and my ex split up they determined that they can not get CS from me. now in i believe it was 06/07 i was approved for SSD and receive 20.00 ssi. the childrens mom died in 06 and the childrens aunt has custody in nj. i now live in co. i want to get married to my present g/f which means i lose that 20/mo in ssi but the kids get ssi off me and their now dead mom. does this mean should i lose that 20/mo in ssi and have straight ssd they will come after me for CS or will it be left alone since they already receive benefits? what is SSA should terminate my benefits? will a order automatically be set and no time given for me to stabilize financially? i’m worried about terminated benefits because i am presently fighting ssa to become my own payee. if they do does my g/f or wifes income get considered in the calculations?

  72. My sometimes boyfriend is refusing to pay for much of the baby stuff I could use soon. He is on SSi, but makes like 760 a month. He has no bills other than his cell phone and 210 dollars for rent. The rest he just wastes. Is it possible to recieve 50 or even 100 dollars of it? I read about the difference between SSI and SSDI, but I would like to know why a person who really has nothing to be paying for can’t pay for something with all the extra money available each month.

  73. sallie sommer says

    My son’s Dad became disabled back in Oct.2011. He just recently got approved for SSDI and I had to attend a meeting @ Social Security to sign paperwork for our 9 yr. old son to receive auxillary payments. I also have a outstanding child support order which has been active since 2003. My son’s Dad has managed to get out of paying the court ordered payments and is currently almost $20,00 in arrears. I spoke with child support enforcement and they told me that they sent a garnishment to SSDI, but it has been awhile and have not heard anything from SSDI or child support. My son’s Dad lives in Wisconsin and my son and I live in Florida. Typically how long does a case like this take and what are the chances that child support payments will be deducted from the SSDI?

  74. C Harris says

    I receive benefits uder my now deceased dad as i am legally blind.
    my son was also born with a disability and received his own disability. can i be made to pay child support? I’m in IL.

  75. Terry Clark says

    @Jay Rivers: If your SSDI payment falls below the limits of SSI : $680.00 , you can apply for those benefits either in liue of the SSDI or as an additional benefit that SSI will make up the difference. 585 SSDI would mean in that case that you should also upon application receive a check from SSI for $95.00. In addition, You certainly would qualify for both food and medical assistance as well as HEAP (Heating assistance) and depending on location, housing assistance, free telephone access, etc.

  76. @Jonathan Ginsberg:

    My 2 kids have been receiving monthly payments since 2008 when dad got SSDI approved. My oldest is 18, so the payments stopped. Dear old Dad is also 32,000.00 in arrears with an additional 23,000.00 in interest on top of that. Can I garnish his SSDI for child support arrears? (the 18 year old is enrolled in a 4 year university starting in the fall, so I’ll still be supporting her.)

  77. anonymous says

    @Nancy Edwards: it doesnt sound like he quit his job to avoid child support since as you say he is on disability.

  78. anonymous says

    @Jay Rivers: they don’t care ..I have been years living and bouncing on a garnished check that giving me ..500 per month ..she is with another guy for years, kicked me out because of her want for this guy .. kept me away from my children and did nothing but talk bad about me the whole time, my daughters do not talk to me my because of lies deceit and her yelling at them if they want to even call me (was told this by my son…my son does as stated talk to me, i guess he was old enough to remembers how i was and now that he is 18, id finally able to hang out with me at will without being yelled at every time he even breathed my name.I was unlucky enough to not have worked long enough before becoming disabled and placed on ssdi at the lowest payout which payout should NEVER be garnished for wage!! with rent you cant truly live on it anyhow omg..gttt..so it a NEEDS BASED MONEY
    .this family court system is the most ridiculous, do you get that its modeled after the 1950s courts of communist Russia? this family court is the spitting image ..check it out google please defend show me its not..

  79. Alicia Rininger says

    @sheri: Hi Sheri, I just wanted to comment or your post. I live in Pennsylvania, and in my state it doesnt matter if your in a wheelchair or not and your on disability, cause the person on disability still has to pay child support unless they fall under the criteria of not making enough money from their disability according to the state, to pay child support. In P.A, if a person who is on disability makes less than $867 a month than they do not have to pay the child support. If that person makes $867 or more with their disability income than they have to pay child support. I know this from experience. My ex-husband has been filing for child support on me about 2 times a year for the past 4 years, and every time he does the judge always dismisses his court case. I only make $678 a month and I am not near the $867 for him to even get $10 a month from me. He just loves to harass me and keep taking me to court just to be the ass that he is. He gets $3400 a month for his income and he wants to take me for support. This shows you what kind of a freak he is.

  80. Alicia Rininger says

    I think they need to make a law that says after someone like my exhusband files for support, and has been denied 2 times, he should not be allowed to file again!!!!

  81. Alicia Rininger says

    @Jonathan Ginsberg: I have gone to domestic relations 5 times in the past 3 years because my exhusband keeps being a jerk and takes me, even though domestic relations and the judge have told him several times that I dont get enough social security to pay him any child support. I get $678, and the earning capacity is $867 for me to even pay him any child support. Today was my 5th hearing in the past couple years and the judge told him again that I am way below the earning capacity so she cannot make me pay him any child support. Than after she said that, she looked at me and ordered me to bring something into Domestic Relations starting June 1 of this year from the disability office stating that I am still considered disabled and could not work. After I take it in to them June 1, I have to continue to get updates from the SSI office with them stating the same thing. In other words she said she wants social security to evaluate me starting June 1 and a couple time after, to see if they still think I am disabled and still cant work. I think the judge is trying to make me do this cause shes siding with my exhusband. I called the disability office and they told me that they do a 3 to 7 year review on my case, and said that no judge can tell them when to do their review on me, and Im not due for a review for another 3 years. I was kind of dumb founded when the judge told me that I had to do that, cause I thought when a judge says something thats the way it goes, but I found out thats not true. Could you please give me your input on any of this? Thankyou!!!!

  82. I have two childern with someone that collects ssi. Is there any other way that I make him pay child support? Is there a way to remove his mothers as his payee? Or by us marring does that over rule his mother to where she will be legaly forced to relese him? I would greatly appreciate your input. Please get back to me

  83. if im on retirement survivors and disability insureance. im collocting from my dad passing away. so im collecting form him. do i have to pay child soport

  84. @Jonathan Ginsberg:
    This is the way it works. SSI cannot be garnished and at least in my state, child support enforcement can threaten all the usual things like prosecution, license suspensions, etc but they cannot actually do any of these things. For SSDI, if the payments you receive based on the non custodial parents income from social security are equal to or greater than the court ordered amount of child support, those payments satisfy the court ordered child support obligation. If the SSDI payments you receive are less than the court ordered child support payments, then the remaining amount can be taken from the non custodial parents SSDI checks, but only 15% of the SSDI check but never any more than what would reduce the SSDI check to $750 a month. This is exactly how it worked in my case. On another note, if the SSDI check that you receive is in excess of the court ordered obligation, that excess cannot be applied to any arrears that were not covered in the lump sum you received along side the lump sum he received after waiting to have his case approved. That excess is considered a gift and is not assignable to past support obligations. I hope this helps.

  85. Need, I would strongly advise that you speak to a lawyer about these questions. Your question calls for legal advice which I cannot offer on a blog.

  86. Melanie Lewis says

    I am from Ohio. I recieve SSI and my child support is now closed. They have told me in the past that they cant charge me no more than 50.00 a month. They did for a few years. How come it went up to 60.00 a month? I did talk to child support about it. They said it was closed and wasnt going to lower the payment. I wasnt aware of a court date. I just got a letter friday they were taking me to court. They want to take it out of my checking account. So what do i do?

  87. Hello,
    I have been doing my best these last few days to read up as much as possible about the situation I am in. I havE been separated from my 10 year old’s Father for 6 hears or so, we do have lawyers to get Divorced but I don’t think that they have even sent the final stop over to the courts yet. My son’s Father and I were in NYS Family Court 6 years ago or so and we agreed to joint custody with me having Residential Custody. MY ex went out on SSDI a few years ago and w/o my consent, he must have told the SSDI when filing his application that he has Ressential Custody of our son, which is not true. He was paying me $600 a month for child support and I found out that he was keeping over $300 for himself . I also recently found out that he is receiving NYS Disability I think it is, it’s not much, about 180 twice a month .. Now he is telling me that since he had an offset bc hes been collecting both Disability and SSDI that he now owes over $23K to SS & that they garnished our son’s support money therefore I lost another $135 a month! I read that with Offsets like he has going on, Courts will usually make you pay it back in small increments over many my years, is that true? I’m not sure how I should proceed from here …


  88. It seems unlikely that SSA would garnish your child’s auxiliary benefit. They might reduce his monthly benefit by a small dollar amount each month but not the payment to your child. At the very least I would ask to see the paperwork regarding this alleged offset.

  89. I am on SSDI. If I get married to a man who has to pay child support, can they attach MY SSDI income?

  90. No, your benefits cannot be attached. I would, however, keep your money in a separate bank account.


  1. […] discussed elsewhere on this blog, SSDI benefits may be attached to pay past due child support, but SSI benefits may not be attached.  However, a state court divorce or child support order is not “nullified” […]

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