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How Social Security figures in to child support

As a previous post on this blog discussed, Social Security might play in when a Rockford, Illinois, couple separates, particularly if they are going through the process of a so-called grey divorce.

Social Security actually influences a number of family law issues, including the issue of child support. Although some Rockford residents might have the impression that Social Security payments for retirement or disability are untouchable when it comes to child support, that is in fact only partially true.

The reality is that, like other sources of income, what a person receives in retirement or disability benefits counts when it comes to figuring out how much child support a person owes. The reason for this is that, in theory, retirement benefits and disability payments made under the SSDI program represent money that was earned by a person at one point and is now being paid back.

As such, these payments serve as deferred income that replaces a part of what a person would have made had he or she continued to work. Social Security payouts are not true welfare benefits in the sense that a person did not put anything in to the system.

For similar reasons, a court can and will order a person to turn over all or part of his or her Social Security check in order to pay child support.

On the other hand, Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, gets awarded to qualified people of limited means without regard to whether or not they are able to work or have a work history. Because they get these payments precisely because they have no other way of making ends meet, SSI income, although administered as part of Social Security, ordinarily is not counted for child support purposes, and courts will generally take a hands off approach to it when it comes to enforcing a support order.

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