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Can my Social Security Disability Benefits be garnished to pay child support payments?

To answer this question, you must determine what type of Social Security Disability benefits you are currently receiving. The Social Security Administration offers two types of disability benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Supplemental Security Income or SSI is a social security disability benefit given to certain qualifying individuals including: the aged, blind and disabled who meet certain income and resource levels. Income and resource levels change each year and can be found on the Social Security Administration’s website.  Supplemental Security Income is given to these individuals for clothing, housing and food expenses.

The federal government funds Supplemental Security Income through general tax revenues not the Social Security Trust Fund.  The federal government treats Supplemental Security Income as a public welfare benefit similar to food stamps and does not consider Supplemental Security Income or SSI to be income for the purposes of child support payments. Therefore, the federal government does not allow Supplemental Security Income benefits to be garnished.

In contrast, Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI was money paid into the Social Security Trust Fund through employment taxes based on a percentage of the employee’s earnings. The goal of the Social Security Trust Fund is to allow for the replacement of income for certain employees who become disabled and are unable to work.

According to the federal government, the Social Security Disability Income or SSDI benefit is considered a substitute for lost wages and is eligible to be garnished for child support payments. One benefit of Social Security Disability Insurance, however, is children of qualifying disabled workers who receive Social Security Disability Insurance payments may be eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI benefits until a certain age (18 under most circumstances) and these SSDI payments may be subtracted from the child support amount owed. 

If you have questions regarding your Social Security Disability benefit or the garnishment of you Social Security Disability benefits to pay for child support, it is important to contact a Social Security Disability Attorney who can answer all of your questions. Social Security Disability Attorneys can also answer questions about applying for Social Security Disability Benefits or help you recover any Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits you may have lost.

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