In all states, parents are legally obligated to financially support their children whether they’re married or not, employed or not, disabled, suffering from a serious mental illness, incarcerated, or unemployed. The only way a parent is off the hook for child support is if their parental rights have been terminated.
If you are a parent who pays child support and you are receiving or applying for Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you may be wondering if child support can be taken or garnished from these benefits, and reasonably so!
SSDI Versus SSI
SSDI and SSI are two different programs. According to the Social Security Administration: “Social Security Disability Insurance pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are ‘insured,’ meaning that you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes,” adding, “Supplemental Security Income pays benefits based on financial need.”
Here’s what you need to know:
- Child support can be taken out of SSDI (disability) benefits. So, if you were to start receiving disability benefits and you did not pay your child support, the local child support agency can garnish your benefits just as it would from your paycheck.
- Child support does NOT come out of SSI benefits. SSI is not counted as income and it is untouchable for child support purposes. However, you can always pay child support voluntarily with your SSI benefits.
In addition to child support being taken from your disability check, it can also be taken from workers’ compensation and unemployment benefits. Still, SSI benefits cannot be touched.
Did you know that as a general rule, disability benefits are higher than SSI payments. Also, someone can receive SSDI and SSI payments at the same time.
“In general, the obligation to provide child support does not cease if a parent becomes disabled. However, it’s easy to see how the inability to work will negatively impact one’s ability to provide reliable financial support,” according to The Balance.