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How Does Disability Effect Child Support?

In order to determine the correct amount of child support when one of the parents is receiving social security benefits, it must first be determined what kind of social security benefits that parent is receiving. There are generally two types of social security benefits, disability or retirement benefits received under Title II of the Social Security Act, and Supplemental Security Income benefits received under Title XVI of the Social Security Act.

Amounts received by a parent under Title II of the Social Security Act are considered income and can form the basis of a child support award. Supplemental Security Income benefits, however, are not included in income and cannot form the basis of a child support award.

If a parent is receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits, the other parent may still be able to obtain child support from that parent. In order to do so, it must be proven that the parent receiving the benefits still has the ability to earn income over and above the benefits being received by the Social Security Administration. Evidence that the other parent is capable of working or is somehow receiving other income should be presented by the party seeking child support. Under the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines, the law does not assume a parenting is voluntarily not working. Therefore, proof must be introduced to show such a parent is capable of working but is intentionally not working.

If a parent is receiving disability or retirement benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act, then the amount received is included in income to determine the child support obligation. In addition, if the children are receiving money because of a parent’s disability income, that amount is added to the income of that parent. The amounts received by the children are called derivative benefits. Once the children’s derivative benefits are added to the parent’s disability income, the amount of child support is calculated based on the guidelines. If the calculation shows the parent receiving disability income should be paying child support, the amount of the children’s derivative benefits are subtracted from that parent’s child support obligation. If the difference is a positive number, the parent owes the difference. If the difference is negative, child support will be zero and the parent owes nothing.

No matter the situation, a knowledgeable Tennessee child support attorney is essential if you are facing a child support case. It matters not whether you are the one seeking child support or the one from whom child support is sought, an attorney is necessary if you want maximize your chances for success in court.

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