Child support can affect your disability benefits in several ways, particularly if you owe arrears (i.e., late payments). How exactly your child support income or obligation will affect your Social Security Disability qualifications or payments depends on:
- The type of disability benefits you receive
- How much you owe in arrears or how much you receive each month
- Whether the court ordered wage garnishment
- The difference in your pay before and after getting disability benefits
If you believe the Social Security Administration (SSA) incorrectly denied your claim, the Pittsburgh Social Security disability lawyers at Berger and Green may be able to help. Call us today at (412) 661-1400 for a free case evaluation.
Disability Benefits and Your Child Support Obligation
Even if you suffer a serious injury or illness and now have a disability and cannot work, you still have an obligation to pay child support unless you go to court to change your child support order. These court-mandated payments will most likely continue until your youngest child turns 18 years old or finishes high school, whichever is later. However, your child may be eligible for auxiliary benefits if you are found to be entitled to Disability Insurance Benefits. The criteria children must meet to receive SSDI benefits include:
- Being a biological, adopted, or dependent stepchild of an adult who is eligible to receive SSDI
- Having a valid birth certificate and Social Security number;
- Being unmarried
If your child has a disability and depends on you for their care, they will continue to receive benefits despite the criteria listed above. If the child gets a job, you can speak with our legal team to see if they can apply for their benefits, which could result in more money for your household.
The courts understand, however, that suffering a permanent or long-term impairment can prevent you from working and earning the same wages you were before. You may be able to get your mandated child support obligation modified to a lower payment.
For a free legal consultation, call 412-661-1400
We Can Help You File a Claim for Your Injury or Illness
If your injury or illness occurred because of another person’s negligence, our injury attorneys may be able to help you file an insurance claim or injury lawsuit to try to collect compensation for the damages you suffered. This can make it easier to pay child support despite the decrease in your monthly income.
Proving negligence is important to your case. Our lawyers can review the evidence in your case and determine if your situation meets the four key elements for proving someone else caused your injury or illness. You must prove:
- You were owed a duty of care.
- The person breached this duty of care.
- As a result of the breach, you encountered harm.
- As a result of the harm, you suffered damages.
You generally have two years to pursue a personal injury case in Pennsylvania, per Pa. C.S.A. § 5524. We can talk with you more about your case for negligence during a free consultation.
Disability Benefits and Child Support Srrears
Many people worry the courts may garnish their Social Security disability payments if they owe child support arrearage payments. The truth is that it depends on what type of disability you receive. In general:
The Courts Can Garnish SSDI Payments
The courts can garnish a portion of your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) monthly payments to fulfill your child support obligation in the same way they would garnish other income from a job or other source. Garnishment happens when someone falls behind on their child support payments. You must continue to meet your obligation, even if you have a disability.
The Courts Cannot Garnish SSI Payments
The courts cannot garnish Supplemental Security Income (SSI) monthly disability payments to fulfill your child support obligation in most cases. The Social Security Act protects these benefits from garnishment.
Garnishing Back Pay and Retroactive Benefits
If you receive back pay after appealing an SSDI or SSI decision or receive retroactive pay for SSDI, the court can take a portion of this lump sum payment to cover any past-due child support you owe. However, there are limits on how much it can take, and you will still retain some of your back pay.
You can, of course, opt to use it to pay a larger portion of your past-due support to help you get out of arrears.
Talk to a Pittsburgh Social Security Disability Attorney Today
If you have questions or concerns about Social Security Disability and your child support obligation, the disability lawyers from Berger and Green can help you.
Call us today at (412) 661-1400 for your free case evaluation with a member of our Pittsburgh team. If we determine that you have a viable case, we can start working on it at no upfront cost. We receive our payment if we recover compensation for you.