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Collecting child support from Social Security benefits

Custodial parents in Connecticut who are owed back child support by their former spouses who are no longer working but who are receiving Social Security benefits may wonder if they have any recourse. Although Supplemental Security Income benefits may not be garnished, other types of Social Security benefits are reachable to help take care of the delinquencies.

The reason that SSI benefits can not be garnished is that they are viewed as a form of welfare. However, other Social Security benefits are considered to be income that has been earned by the recipient who had paid into the program while employed, and thus they can be garnished under some circumstances. These include retirement and disability benefits.

Courts consider it to be a matter of public policy that both parents should be responsible for providing financial support for their child. In order to start a garnishment of available Social Security benefits, the parent who is owed support must first start by filing a motion with the court. Evidence will have to be provided that there is an existing support order that is not being complied with. Upon the issuance of the court's garnishment order, the parent may then present it to the local Social Security office in order to initiate the withholding of benefits. Under federal law, the maximum amount that may be garnished is 65 percent of the person's monthly benefit amount, although it may be a lesser percentage if the parent entitled to receive those benefits is under a court order to pay support with respect to another child.

Child support orders issued as part of a divorce decree are designed to ensure that the children are living in a situation as close to that they would enjoy if their parents had remained together. In addition to Social Security garnishment, there are other methods of child support enforcement that a family law attorney can explain to a parent who is seeking to recover payments that are owed.

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The Law Offices of James A. Cuddy, LLC

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