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If you’re receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits and you have children to support, you may be wondering what impact SSI and SSDI have on child support.

SSI provides cash benefits to elderly and disabled individuals who have a low income, and this includes blind and disabled children. For someone to be eligible for SSI, he or she cannot have a lot of assets. If a child is receiving SSI, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will reduce the child’s SSI benefits by two-thirds of the child support payment that is paid by the non-custodial parent.

What is SSDI?

The SSDI program is separate from the SSI program. This program provides cash benefits to disabled individuals who have paid into the system and who have a significant work history. In order for someone to receive SSDI benefits, they must meet the SSA’s definition of a disability.

Meaning, they must have a severe medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. Also, the disability must prevent the person from engaging in any meaningful work. What about the work history we mentioned? Generally, the applicant must have worked five of the last ten years. Lastly, an applicant doesn’t have to have “few assets” to be eligible for SSDI benefits.

Are SSI & SSDI Counted as Income?

When it comes to child support, SSI and SSDI are treated very differently. SSI is NOT counted as income for child support purposes and it cannot be garnished for child support. On the other hand, SSDI is counted as income and it can be taken for child support.

Special note: As a general rule, SSDI benefits are higher than SSI payments. It is possible for someone to receive both SSI and SSDI benefits at the same time.

Next: Can Child Support Be Reduced Because of a Disability?

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