Wondering how Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can affect the calculation of child support payments?

It is very important to first understand what these two particular programs are and what they do.

Social Security Income

Social Security Income (SSI) is administered by the Social Security Administration and provides cash payments each month those who the government deems as low-income elderly or disabled, and who have few assets. For children who are receiving benefits from SSI, the benefits are reduced by two-thirds of the amount that child support covers.

Social Security Disability Insurance

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is also a program administered by the Social Security Administration. This program provides cash benefits each month to those who are disabled and their families. The difference is that with the Social Security Disability Insurance program, there is a history of significant employment. That measurement is generally a verifiable work history of at least five of the previous ten years. The second difference is that assets are not considered for SSDI.

The Differences Between SSI And SSDI And How It Affects Child Support Payments

If you are the non-custodial parent who receives SSI, your child support payments will not take into consideration your SSI income. Further, if you are the custodial parent and you receive SSI, you do not have to report it as countable income.

If you are the non-custodial parent who receives SSDI, your child support payments will be taken into consideration your SSI income. As required under the DC Child Support Guidelines, SSDI is counted as income when calculating the monthly child support order.

If your child receives SSDI derivative benefits, you should know it counts as income for the parent from where the money is derived. If the benefits come from the non-custodial parent, the total of the benefits are deducted from the obligation using a calculation formulated by the state of New York.

Consider this example as a guide:

The benefit total is $300

Using the guidelines, the obligation is calculated at $500

The order would be set at $200

Note that if the benefits are more than the obligation, the order is zero.

Finally, you should know that if you are behind in your child support payments, your SSI benefits cannot be garnished. If you receive SSDI and you are behind in your child support payments, those benefits can and often are garnished.

Please keep in mind that each program has its own rules, waiting periods, formulas and other elements that affect the program and the recipients. Your best bet is to speak with a qualified family law attorney. Your child support lawyer can provide important insight as it relates to your divorce and the subsequent child support you pay or receive for the benefit of your minor children. If a parent is receiving disability payments for an injury or illness from which he or she will not recover, attention to an estate plan and a final will be time well spent.

For more information, speak to our child support attorneys now.