Even if you're disabled and receiving Social Security disability benefits, you can still be pursued for child support. The benefits you receive from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be garnished if a support order has been made against you and payments are delinquent. Therefore, it is important not to ignore any legal papers served on you seeking child support. In addition to properly responding to the legal process, you should also apply for SSDI auxiliary benefits for your child.
Call your local legal aid organization and request an appointment to discuss the legal papers for child support served on you, regardless of whether the papers are from the child's parent or a child support agency. The legal aid organization should be experienced with issues involving child support and Social Security disability income. If you cannot locate a legal aid organization, go to the courthouse where the legal papers were filed and ask the clerk for any available self-help information the court provides in child support cases.
Submit an application to the Social Security Administration in order to obtain auxiliary benefits for your child. All children under 18 years of age can receive benefits when a parent is receiving SSDI. Depending on the laws of you state, auxiliary benefits received by your child may either fully or partially cover your state child support obligation.
File your written response to the legal papers served on you with the court. Include with your response all information related to your SSDI. Also include copies of the application you submitted to the SSA for auxiliary benefits for your child.
Attend the hearing set by the court for determination of your child support obligation and inform the court that your income is limited to SSDI and you cannot meet your day to day needs and pay child support. Also inform the court of the application you submitted for auxiliary benefits and request that these benefits be used to satisfy your child support obligation.
If you are already subject to a child support order and then become disabled so that you need to apply for SSDI, you should immediately file paper work with the court to modify or eliminate the support order due to your disability. Be sure to include a request for auxiliary benefits for your child in your SSDI application.
If the benefits you receive for your disability are from the Supplemental Security Income program, your benefits cannot be garnished to cover child support payments; however, a support order can be still made against you. If you start working again, you will be liable for any unpaid payments.