If you become disabled, you still are responsible for paying child support. As a general rule, any income that you receive counts as income for the purposes of calculating your child support obligation, which may include disability benefits that you are receiving. However, if you become disabled and your income is significantly reduced, you may be eligible to modify your child support obligation.
When a parent has worked and paid a sufficient amount into the Social Security system, he or she is entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits if he or she becomes disabled. SSDI benefits count as a parent’s income in calculating his or her child support obligation. A court also can order the garnishment of SSDI benefits in order to pay back child support. SSDI benefits also may entitle any minor dependents of the disabled individual to derivative SSDI benefits on a monthly basis until they become adults. The amount of derivative benefits received by the child offsets the amount of support that the disabled parent is ordered to pay.
If a parent does not have a sufficient work history, however, and becomes disabled, he or she may be entitled to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. SSI is a public welfare benefit that provides monthly cash payments to disabled adults who have little or no income or assets. As a result, SSI benefits do not count as income for the purposes of calculating child support, and a court cannot order a parent’s SSI benefits to be garnished for back child support. There also are no derivative benefits available for a child when his or her parent receives SSI benefits.
Child support is never an easy subject, and disagreements between separated or divorced individuals about child support obligations and other types of financial matters are quite common. Becoming disabled and being ordered to pay child support is a unique situation in which legal advice can make all the difference. It is these kinds of cases in which a California child support lawyer can be most effective, and truly make a difference in the outcome of your child support proceedings. Call the Law Offices of Vincent W. Davis & Associates at 888.888.6582 and schedule a consultation today.