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Child support can be deducted from Social Security benefits

Social Security income is usually safe from garnishment for debts such as credit cards or other unpaid personal debts. However, for those who owe back child support in Massachusetts and most other states, certain types of Social Security income can be garnished to repay this type of debt.

While most forms of Social Security income can be garnished, there is one type that cannot. Supplementary Security Income benefits are viewed to be a form of welfare by the government. Therefore, these payments are not eligible for child support garnishment. For benefits that are eligible for garnishment, there are strict limits as to how much the garnishment can take from the monthly benefit. Child support has a larger percentage than most other types of government debt, with up to 65 percent allowed for garnishment.

The garnishment is processed through the Social Security office, and claims can be made against Social Security applications that are still in the pending stage. The first step in the garnishment process is to obtain an income withholding order that is granted by a judge. The applicant must substantiate grounds for the Social Security to be garnished before the order can be issued. Once the order is received by Social Security, they begin deducting the garnishment. The government does provide child support services that can help complete the application. The fee for this service is usually $25, and it is typically the least expensive way of going through the process.

The procedure to recover child support payments through Social Security benefits can be lengthy and complicated. Legal guidance may be beneficial in order to expedite the process and make sure the maximum amount is garnished. If the children are over the age of 18, parents can still pursue back child support under some circumstances. An attorney may be able to advise their client and determine if the case is able to move forward.

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