If you are receiving disability benefits, there is a very great likelihood you are struggling to make ends meet. If you are also obligated to make child support payments, you may feel it will be impossible to stay current on those payments due to your reduced income. Unfortunately, your status as disabled does not change your child support obligation. However, a Greensboro Social Security disability case lawyer can explain that there may be options available based on the facts and circumstances of your case.
The parent paying child support may request a hearing to establish the fact that a change in circumstance warrants the court to re-examine its previous child support order. A substantial reduction in income, as is often the case when a worker begins receiving disability benefits, will typically trigger a lower support payment. If the parents are communicating and can work out an adjustment on their own, it is still important to go to court and have the judge approve of it.
To the extent you cannot get a modification or even if successful you find yourself unable to keep up with the new support payment ordered, your SSDI benefits may be subject to garnishment. However, if you are receiving SSI disability benefits, these funds may not be garnished.
If you have been unable to keep up and have amounts owed, the fact that you may be eligible for a modification will have no impact on the arrears. This is true even if some time elapsed between when you began receiving disability benefits and when the modification was ordered by the court. This is why it is imperative to schedule a hearing with the family court judge as soon as possible.
The nature of disability cases often means the passage of many months or more from the initial filing of the disability claim until ultimate approval, which may only be awarded after one or more appeals. Additionally, the disability judge may determine that your actual disability began on a date prior to filing the claim. These occurrences can result in a lump sum payment due for past benefits. This lump sum can be garnished if back child support is owed, but typically, the entire sum is not garnished.
In some cases, if you are eligible for SSDI benefits, your dependent child may also be eligible for child benefits. Although nothing in North Carolina statutes mandate using the child benefit amount as an offset to the child support calculation, the child support guidelines suggest that as an appropriate consideration. This is an issue that should be visited in the support modification hearing.
Balancing your obligation to care for your children and maintain minimal standards for yourself can be tricky. Understand the law and explore your options. Call the Bridgman Law Offices, a Greensboro Social Security disability case lawyer group, at 704-815-6055.
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