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Child Support and Disability Benefits in Virginia

Child Support LawyersWhat happens to a Virginia child support obligation if the parent who was ordered to pay support starts receiving disability payments instead of a pay check? Can those disability benefits be seized through an income withholding order to pay child support?

Supplemental Security Income Benefits (SSI). SSI is a Social Security benefit that is based on financial need and does not derive from the recipient’s earnings record. Monthly payments are made to individuals who are 65 years or older, blind or disabled, earn little to no income and have few, if any, resources. A non-custodial parent who receives this type of disability benefit cannot have those monthly payments taken through income withholding. Likewise, any lump sum payment the non-custodial parent receives for past due benefits cannot be taken to satisfy child support arrears.

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI). SSDI is a Social Security benefit that is derived from the recipient’s earnings record. Monthly payments are made to disabled individuals who paid years of payroll tax deductions or self-employment tax deductions from their income. Unlike SSI, child support payments can be taken from SSDI through income withholding. And, if a non-custodial parent who owes child support arrears is entitled to a lump sum payment for past due SSDI benefits, a percentage of the lump sum payment can be taken through income withholding to satisfy the arrearage. In addition to their own monthly SSDI payment, a non-custodial parent’s children may be eligible for their own derivative benefit based on the parent’s disability.

Military Disability Pay. Whether or not military disability pay is subject to income withholding for child support depends on whether the veteran has waived some or all of their military retired pay in order to receive disability pay from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). If a veteran is eligible to receive military retired pay and elects to waive a portion of that retired pay in order to receive VA disability pay, the portion of the VA benefit received in lieu of retired pay is subject to income withholding for child support. Only the portion of VA disability pay that represents the amount of the waived retired pay is subject to income withholding for child support. The disability pay of a veteran who elects to waive his or her entire military retired pay is not subject to income withholding for child support. Similar to SSDI payments, the children of a veteran who receives VA disability pay may be eligible for an apportionment of the veteran’s disability benefits.

If you have a child support collection issue in Virginia, be sure to discuss your options with an experienced family law attorney. Livesay & Myers, P.C. has teams of experienced family lawyers in ManassasFairfaxLeesburg and Fredericksburg, Virginia. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.

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