It can be devastating to both parents and to their children when one parent becomes disabled. If you are divorced and either you or your former spouse qualifies for Social Security disability, you need to understand how Social Security disability could impact your children.
Two Important Consequences for Children
Your children’s needs don’t change when one parent becomes disabled. Accordingly, if a parent qualifies for Social Security disability and is legally obligated to pay child support then:
- The parent’s Social Security disability income is included in his or her gross income for child support purposes. Generally, your Social Security disability payments count as income and, thus, are considered in your ability to pay child support.
- The amount the parent has to pay in child support may be offset by the amount the child(ren) receive from the Social Security Administration. Each of your dependent children may qualify for monthly payments of up to one half the amount of your monthly disability payment. However, there is a family limit on the amount of benefit that will be paid. If your child is receiving such payments, you should talk to your family law attorney about a possible modification of your child support obligation.
There can be significant consequences for your child and for you if you do not pay the child support as required by a Texas court. Accordingly, we encourage you to talk to an experienced Social Security disability lawyer and to your divorce attorney if you have any questions about your obligations.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.