Child Support

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Child Support

My brother is on disability and his son is 24 years old and he has gotten a letter to appear in court regarding back child support. Is he liable to pay being on disability?

Asked on June 5, 2009 under Personal Injury, Alabama


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 15 years ago | Contributor

If you are talking about social security payments then the answer is, it depends.

There are two types of social security disability.  One is SSDI and this is restricted to individuals who have worked and now find themselves disabled.  The other is SSI which is a form of benefit for individuals who have never worked.  The latter is often viewed as a form of social assistance.


If a parent is on SSDI and is responsible for paying monthly child support payments, there is a chance that the payment can be taken from their SSDI proceeds.  In order for this to happen, the custodial parent must prove that the disabled parent hasn't been making their child support payments.  The claimant's SSDI payment can then be reduced to reflect the payment being removed and sent to the custodial parent.

In the case of SSI, the custodial parent has no right to any of the proceeds from the disability benefits.  They can also not have any back payments they may be entitled to, taken for this reason.

That's not the case with someone on SSDI though.  If they have been unable to make their child support payments for several months because of the appeal process related to their disability claim, they may have seen their back payment handed directly over to cover the missed child support payments.  The opposing spouse will typically retain a lawyer who will file the necessary documentation to ensure that happens.

Your brother should speak with an attorney in your area about all of this.  They will best be able to advise him on how to fully protect his rights.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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