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Barbara L. Jouette, Attorney, P.C.
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Collecting child support from Social Security in Texas

Some parents who receive Social Security benefits wrongly believe their benefits cannot be touched for purposes of paying current and back child support they owe. While it is true that Supplemental Security Income cannot be garnished, all other types of Social Security benefits may be subject to a withholding order for child support.

A parent who is owed either monthly support or back support may file a motion with the court seeking garnishment of Social Security benefits. He or she will first need to determine the type of benefits the other parent receives. SSI is considered to be a type of welfare as people are not required to have first paid into the system before receiving it. Social Security retirement benefits and Social Security disability payments can both be garnished, however, as people who receive these first paid into the system in order to qualify for their monthly payment amounts.

If a nonpaying parent has filed an application for Social Security that has not yet been approved, the agency can still be presented with a garnishment order. The agency will keep the order on file, and in the event the benefits application is approved, withholding will begin.

The legislature and judicial system take a dim view of parents who fail to contribute to the support of their children. If a parent is struggling with affording his or her payments due to a significant change in circumstances, he or she may want to seek the help of a family law attorney to try to modify the child support amount. Until an order is granted, the person should be aware that the payments have to be made as ordered. Parents who are owed child support may likewise want to seek the help of a family law attorney to seek and obtain garnishments.

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