Many clients often ask if their Social Security benefits can be garnished for child support. This answer depends on the kind of benefit that he or she is receiving. For those receiving Social Security disability insurance benefits (DIB), the answer is yes, the Social Security Administration may garnish a person’s benefits for child support, alimony, or restitution. However, the custodial parent cannot place a lien against future Social Security disability benefits.

Garnishments will be enforced against all payments for Disability Insurance Benefits including underpayments (i.e., back pay given to a recipient while waiting for his or her claim to be approved) and lump sum death payments. The Social Security Administration percentage is based on the lesser of either the State maximum percentage or the maximum percentage under the Consumer Credit Protection Act. If a recipient of Social Security disability owes child support to more than one child, some money is required to be paid on each order for current child support. However, current child support takes priority over child support arrearages.