Mother being comforted by her young girl at home

Can Child Support Be Taken From Disability in Texas?

If you live in Texas and receive disability benefits, you might be asking yourself, “Can child support be taken from disability in Texas?” This common question arises during child support cases, and the answer isn’t always straightforward.

The interaction between child support laws and disability benefits can create a complicated and complex situation. And if you have been ordered by a Texas court to pay child support, your obligations likely will not change because you are on disability.

Keep in mind that any obligations you may have will not be reduced on their own. If you believe you qualify for a reduction in child support payments, it’s your responsibility to file this request with the family court to request a modification.

Let’s take a closer look at how child support and disability interact in Texas.

The Purpose of Child Support in Texas

Child support is more than just a financial obligation. It’s a way of making sure that children have access to the resources and support they need to thrive.

In Texas, the purpose of the child support system is to ensure a child’s basic needs are provided for, and their standard of living is similar to what it was while the parents were still together. 

Child support payments can be used to cover a broad range of expenses. Some of them can include but may not be limited to:

  • Housing
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Education
  • Health care
  • Extracurricular activities

The goal is to make sure that the child’s well-being isn’t compromised because of the separation or divorce. But, how can a child’s needs be adequately supported if one parent is on disability and unable to generate income at a previous level? Let’s examine that portion of the equation.

Legal Provisions for Child Support and Disability

First, let’s look at the equation from a federal level. According to Federal U.S. Law, any benefits received from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be garnished for child support payments.

On the other hand, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a type of welfare. So, it is not designed to be garnished for child support. Receiving SSI benefits is meant to provide financial assistance to disabled individuals who have limited income and resources.

While these general rules about Social Security benefits flow down to the state level in Texas, you need to be aware of some exceptions and special cases for child support purposes.

If you’re a non-custodial parent and your only source of income is SSI, you may not be considered capable of paying child support. In these cases, the court may look into alternative arrangements or explore other ways of making sure the child’s financial well-being is cared for.

You should also remember that the specifics of these exceptions or special cases can vary according to the jurisdiction and the circumstances of the case. Family courts in Texas have the flexibility to look at certain factors (such as the non-custodial parent’s ability to pay child support and the child’s specific needs).

If you’re facing these types of situations, we highly recommend that you speak with a family law attorney who can provide you with sound legal advice based on the specific guidelines in your county.

The Process of Garnishing Disability for Child Support

If you’re a non-custodial parent who has been ordered to pay child support and your main source of income for child support is disability benefits, you might be wondering what to expect.

Once a court order for child support payments has been put in place and it has been determined that you receive SSDI benefits, the Office of the Attorney General in Texas can garnish a portion of these payments for child support. The details of this process can be complicated.

Garnishing wages via SSDI benefits involves a great deal of paperwork, legal processes, and possible court appearances. To start the garnishment process, you must first receive the court order. Then, you will then have to notify the Social Security Administration. The process can take quite a bit of time, so it’s a good idea to seek legal advice to help you complete the process more efficiently.

How the Amount of Disability Benefits Can Affect Your Child Support Obligation

For non-custodial parents obligated to pay child support, the amount you receive from your SSDI benefits can affect how much you’re required to pay. The reason is that the payments are based on the income of the non-custodial parent (which includes SSDI benefits).

If you are already not making as much as you used to because you’re disabled, and now your SSDI benefits are being garnished, it could be difficult to create a livable situation.

If you have difficulty making payments over time because your SSDI benefits are being garnished, you can ask the court to consider modifying the amount of child support you are obligated to pay. Our professional family law attorneys can help you determine whether you have a case to modify an existing child support order.

Can Child Support Be Taken From Disability in Texas? Talk To Our Attorneys

Child support can be a difficult legal issue for parents on disability. If you’re looking for a family attorney who can help you with these specific issues, be sure to get in touch with our team at Parker & Aguilar.

Our seasoned attorneys will listen to your situation, walk you through child support legal issues related to disability, and help you pursue a modification if your benefits are currently being garnished.

We currently support clients in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, Galveston County, and Matagorda County. If you live in one of these counties, contact our offices ​​to discuss your child support case.

You can reach us at 979-267-7660 (Angleton office) or 281-944-5485 (Sugar Land office) to speak with an attorney. Find answers to questions such as “Can child support be taken from disability in Texas?” and other key topics related to your case.