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Does Child Support Come Out of SSI Benefits?


In South Carolina, noncustodial parents pay child support to help cover the costs of food, shelter and clothing for their children. The amount a parent has to pay each month is based on the state’s child support guidelines, which factor in both parents’ incomes.

The child support amount in South Carolina is based on gross income, the total number of minor children in the home, health insurance, extraordinary medical expenses, and the cost of childcare. But what if the noncustodial parent becomes disabled and receives workers’ compensation, disability, or SSI benefits? Can those benefits be taken or garnished for child support in South Carolina?

Certain Benefits Can Be Taken for Support

If a noncustodial parent is disabled and they receive workers’ compensation benefits or Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits, either of those benefits can be garnished for child support. However, that is not the case for Supplemental Security Income or SSI.

Under federal law, SSI cannot be taken to pay child support, at least not involuntarily. If a noncustodial parent chooses to pay child support out of their SSI benefits, that’s another story. The local child support agency cannot take child support out of a parent’s SSI benefits because federal law prohibits this practice.

Why can’t SSI be garnished like SSDI? Because, it’s different than SSDI; the parent does not pay into the program with their Social Security taxes. Instead, it’s a limited benefit that’s specifically for low-income individuals who are blind, elderly, or disabled.

What You Need to Know

If you have been paying child support and then you started receiving SSI benefits, but your current child support order has not been changed, here’s what you need to know:

“If you have a substantial change, act quickly. Child Support can only be modified from the time you file the action forward. For example, if you become disabled in January but do not file for a modification until June, the support can only be changed from the June filing date,” according to the South Carolina Bar.

Related: Does Child Support Come Out of Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina?

Contact Masella Law Firm, P.A. for professional legal assistance with all of your child support and family law needs in Columbia, SC.

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