March 26, 2019

How Do I Find Out if my Ex-Spouse has Filed for Social Security Disability?

Your ex has not paid child support and says that he is disabled.  Has he filed for Social Security disability?  This is the dilemma faced by June, who wrote me the following:

my ex is over 5k in arrears. He just sent the friend of the court a letter from the doctor stating he cannot work. How do i find out if he has filed for disability? I have no contact with him, he keeps disappearing. Do i file for my child and wait and see if my ex has filed, or is there a way to find out if he is receiving anything or has even filed for benefits? i am lost in this whole thing.

Jonathan’s response: I am assuming that there is an order from a State court ordering your ex to pay child support.  As a party to that litigation you may be able to serve post-judgment discovery on him and simply ask.   A lawyer representing you in the State court support action can assist you with this.

confusedwomanSocial Security may not be much help as privacy rules will most likely prevent them from revealing anything about your ex’s case, even though your child may be eligible for auxiliary benefits (that will be in addition to whatever your ex receives himself).

You may also want to check with the child support enforcement office in the jurisdiction where the support order was issued (if you have moved, you can most likely get the file transferred to where you live now.

In most jurisdictions, the obligation to pay child support remains active and enforceable until it is modified.   One question I would ask your own lawyer – does this letter from your ex’s doctor make any difference in his obligation to pay?