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Family & Divorce Law

Can parents collect child support from Social Security?

Every year, there are a number of parents who are owed in child support. Colorado parents utilize different methods to obtaining payments, including wage garnishment and driver's license suspension. A method in question is if parents can obtain child support from the other parent's Social Security.

Whether or not parents can collect from their exes' Social Security depends on what type of benefits they receive. For SSI, the chance of collecting is slim to none, because it is classified as a welfare benefit. However, if there are other earned benefits received, parents could be able to collect what is owed to them. Under earned Social Security, parents who are not receiving child support could submit requests to the Social Security Administration to garnish payments from the benefits.

To be successful, parents are required to submit a court-ordered income withholding and also furnish proof that the ex has failed to pay. Once the information has been entered into the database, the administration typically starts to withhold those payments. Parents also have the option of going through their local child support offices.

Failure to meet child obligations not only affects the parents, it also affects the children. Fortunately, there are avenues Colorado parents can use to collect child support payments owed to them. However, parents must remember that the Social Security Administration cannot withhold in excess of 65 percent of their exes' monthly benefits. If unsuccessful at collecting payments, another option includes inception of federal tax returns. While the process can seem overwhelming, an experienced family law attorney will advise parents on the most appropriate steps.

Source: TIME, "Child Support: How to Collect From Your Ex's Social Security", Kerri Anne Renzulli, March 17, 2015