Very often people hear “Social Security” and think they no longer have to pay child support. That’s not necessarily the case. Under the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines, each type of social security benefit is considered differently. Some types of social security benefits are considered income and some are not. Let’s discuss the three basic types of social security benefits. Whether or not a person continues to pay child support depends on which type of social security benefit he or she is receiving.
- Social Security Retirement benefits are available when you retire from the work force as long as you are 62 years old and have worked at least ten (10) years during your life. (This general rule varies slightly if you are a spouse, but for purposes of this article, we will focus on this general rule.) When calculating child support in New Jersey, social security retirement income is included as gross income under the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines since social security replaces the income you were receiving while you were working. The same holds true for any retirement income. Therefore, child support may be adjusted but is unlikely to terminate.
- Supplemental Security Income is meant to provide people who are disabled and make under a certain amount per year with a supplemental form of income. Since this income is based on your means, in other words you must earn below a certain amount per year, this income is NOT included as gross income when calculating child support under the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. The idea is that if a person is receiving SSI to meet his or her basic needs to live, he or she does not have any additional money to pay child support. So, child support may remain, but could be reduced.
- Social Security Disability Income is income received from the federal government to replace lost income because you can no longer work due to a disability. This income is included under the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines as gross income and is used to determine a child support amount. It is included in the guidelines because when a person is awarded SSDI, his or her income is not taken into account. Therefore, the theory is he or she has enough extra money to pay child support. Often, when a parent is receiving SSDI, his or her child is eligible to receive a monetary benefit also. If a child is receiving a benefit because a parent is disabled, the amount of the child’s benefit is subtracted from the payor parent’s child support payments. Child support is often reduced drastically under such circumstances.
As you can see, social security and child support can be complicated topics. That’s why at Lyons & Associates, PC we are here to help you sort through these difficulties and make sure your children are properly provided for. Our child support lawyers in New Jersey represent men and women throughout New Jersey who have unresolved family law matters, including matters connected to child support. We place a premium on personalized service and attention. For a private consultation, contact us online or call our office at 908-575-9777.
Written by: ChrisAnn Wright, Esq.