Can You Collect Child Support from an Ex’s Social Security?

When your former spouse becomes delinquent with child support payments, you may be wondering how you can get the money you are owed. One route that isn’t normally taken, but is still a possibility, is to garnish Social Security benefits.

First, it’s important to determine what kind of Social Security benefits your former partner receives. You will not be able to collect your payments if he or she receives supplemental security income (SSI), because it is considered a welfare benefit, not an earned benefit. Other types of Social Security benefits, however, could be subject to wage garnishment if you file a request in your local Social Security office.

For the agency to garnish those benefits, you will need to have a judge issue an income withholding order. This means that you must have already proved in court that your ex has been delinquent on their payments. Once your judge has sent this order to your local Social Security office, the people there will then enter your case data into their system and start withholding child support payments from your former spouse’s Social Security benefits.

If your ex-spouse is not currently receiving any benefit payments, your order for garnishment of those payments will stay on file with the Social Security office, and as soon as he or she begins collecting them again, the deductions will continue.

Federal law dictates that Social Security offices can only withhold up to 65 percent of the monthly payments that your ex receives.

If you have any further questions about collecting on unpaid child support, contact the knowledgeable family law attorneys at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates.

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