There are many claimants who have been ordered to pay child support but have recently become disabled and now receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Recently on our disability forum we had a claimant ask, “I am paying child support from my SSDI payments but with my reduced income I was wondering if I can get the child support order modified?”
Housewives and Social Security Disability
A homemaker works for years supporting their families, providing food and clothing needs, washing dishes, and taking care of the kids. Everyone who has dedicated themselves to this noble profession understands that it is a full-time job that requires the skill and dedication of any other job. But can a homemaker, who is no longer able to work, get Social Security Disability Insurance?
It will depend on whether or not the homemaker ever worked and paid employment taxes into the Social Security Administration system.
Qualifying for Social Security Disability Insurance(SSDI)
Homemakers who have not worked and paid employment taxes will not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI is only for employees who have sufficient work credits and who become disabled with a severe health condition which does not allow them to work for at least 12 continuous months.
According to the Social Security Administration, in 2012, you earn one credit for each $1,130 of wages or self-employment income. When you’ve earned $4,520, you’ve earned your four credits for the year. The amount of work credits you will need to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance will vary based on your age when you became disabled, but most claimants will need 40 work credits to qualify.
So, unless a homemaker has worked part-time and has been generating income and paying employment taxes, they will never have the necessary work credits for SSDI benefits.
What are my other disability options as a homemaker?
Although you may not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, the Social Security Administration does provide additional wage replacement benefits through their Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. This program, however, is only offered to claimants who have VERY limited income and resources.
For instance, you might be disabled with a condition which is expected to last for at least 12 continuous months and you cannot perform any type of work but if your family’s resource level is too high or if your husband makes too much money, you may not qualify for the Supplemental Security Income program.
The fairness of the SSI and SSDI system is always in question. This can be especially true for homemakers who dedicate themselves to their family their entire lives, become disabled and find that they have very limited disability benefit options. This issue can become even more serious for housewives who work for years to support their family and have a spouse abandon or leave with very little financial support, several kids, no job and the inability to find work.
Hiring a disability lawyer
If you are a disabled housewife it may be time to talk to a disability lawyer. If you do not meet the nonmedical requirements outlined above for either SSI or SSDI there may be little a lawyer can do for you, but it never hurts to have them review your case and see what your options may be.
If you have been a homemaker for years and have become disabled and your husband has divorced you, it is time to talk to a good divorce lawyer and make sure your child support or spousal support payments are sufficient to meet your future financial needs.
- Not enough work credits for SSDI but I cannot work (disabilitybenefitshome.com)
- Can I work up until I receive Social Security Administration disability benefits? (disabilitybenefitshome.com)
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) – is it for life? (disabilitybenefitshome.com)
- Social Security Administration Disability and Unemployment Benefits (disabilitybenefitshome.com)
Child support is provided to a child during their formative years. It is paid by one of the parents and is mandated by the court. The goal of child support is to ensure that if parents divorce or separate the child is able to maintain their current standard of living, which the court has determined should not substantially decrease due to the change in their living arrangement.
For example, if the custodial parent is unable to provide the financial support that the noncustodial parent enjoys, the assumption made by the court is that the noncustodial parent is responsible for paying an amount of child support that reflects their lifestyle. The courts often award child support as a percentage of the noncustodial parent’s income.
Child support may have to be paid by either the mother or the father and payments are made on a monthly basis. The optimum method of child support collection is done by payroll deduction prior to the parent receiving their wage. This type of payment structure has eliminated some of the law enforcement efforts that tend to be costly and time consuming.
How is child support paid if the paying parent is on SSA disability?
Many claimants want to know what will happen to their child support payments if the noncustodial parent becomes disabled and no longer has an earned income from employment, but is instead, relies on the Federal Government each month for financial support through either Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance. Whether or not your ex-spouse or partner’s disability benefits will be garnished for child support will depend on what type of disability payment they are receiving.
- Social Security Disability Insurance
According to Social Security Ruling 79-4, “the Social Security Administration can withhold a percentage of a claimant’s Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI benefits in an amount equal to what SSA could withhold to pay delinquent income tax debt.”
Prior to withholding any type of payment the Social Security Administration should notify the claimant 60 days in advance. So if your ex-spouse or partner is receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits the amount of payment could be reduced by the courts, especially if the monthly amount of SSDI benefits they are receiving is substantially lower than their prior wages, but you should continue to receive some type of child support payment.
- Supplemental Security Income Benefits
Unfortunately, if your ex-spouse or partner does not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, which means that they have not been working and paying employment taxes and are not “insured” for SSDI benefits, assuming they are determined disabled by the Social Security Administration they will only be entitled to receive Supplemental Security Income (assuming they meet the income and resources requirements for SSI).
Supplemental Security Income is not generally seized for child support. The Supplemental Security Income payment is considered a “public welfare benefit” and is not derived from the claimant’s earnings record. Supplemental Security income is similar to other public benefits that are not seized such as food stamps.
So to answer the question, if your ex-spouse is receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, although the amount of child support paid may be reduced by the court, you should still receive some type of payment. If your ex-spouse is receiving Supplemental Security Income, you may not receive child support.
- Will my Social Security Administration disability payment change if I get married? (disabilitybenefitshome.com)
- Can I switch from Supplemental Security Income to Social Security Disability Insurance? (disabilitybenefitshome.com)
- Steps to get Social Security Administration Disability Benefits (disabilitybenefitshome.com)
- Completing your Social Security Administration Disability Application (disabilitybenefitshome.com)