SSDI Child Benefits May Reduce Support Obligation For Parents With Disabilities

Law Blog

Paying child support can be difficult for any parent, but it can be even more challenging for parents who have disabilities that impact their ability to earn income. If you are disabled and collecting Social Security disability, however, your child may be eligible for derivative SSD payments, which may reduce the amount of money you have to pay in child support. Here's more information about this option.

SSDI Derivative Benefits for Children

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is money a person receives based on income the individual earned during his or her working life. A child of a person receiving SSDI is often eligible for derivative benefits and can receive 50 percent of a parent's benefit.

However, Social Security limits the amount of money any one particular household can receive. So if there are multiple children and the total monthly payments they receive from SSDI exceeds 150 to 180 percent of the parent's benefit, then everyone's payments (except for the parent's) will be reduced to fall in line with the maximum threshold.

Additionally, the SSDI payments for both the parent and the child are considered income for the parent for the purposes of calculating child support. Any money the child receives from SSDI will be subtracted from the parent's child support obligation. For example, if the parent owes $400 in child support and the child is eligible to receive $300 in SSDI, then the non-custodial parent is only responsible for paying the remaining $100. If the SSDI payment covers the entire support amount, then the parent doesn't have to pay anything.

Who is Eligible?

Only children under 18 and full-time high school students under age 19 are eligible for SSDI derivative benefits. Social Security will also continuing paying benefits to disabled children past their 18th birthdays as long as they were disabled prior to turning 22. In all cases, the child must be unmarried and either the biological, legally adopted, or step child of the parent collecting SSDI.

It's important to note that the child will only continue receive derivative benefits for as long as the disabled parent is eligible for SSDI. If the parent's condition improves enough he or she is no longer eligible for the money or the money runs out, then the payments to the child will cease along with the parent's.

The application for derivative benefits can be found on the Social Security website. The parent earning the SSDI can download the application and either mail it to the administration or take it to the nearest SSA office.

For more information about how SSDI impacts child support obligations, assistance with getting a disabled parent to submit the required application, or help negotiating child support payments, contact a family law attorney


13 October 2015

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