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Collecting child support from Social Security benefits

Pennsylvania parents who are not being paid the child support that they are owed might be able to have a portion of the other parent's Social Security payments garnished. Up to 65 percent of an individual's benefits might be withheld from survivor, retirement or disability benefits. Supplementary Security Income cannot be garnished because it is considered welfare.

Custodial parents must get an income withholding order from a judge by appearing in court and proving that they are not receiving child support payments. The order then goes to the Social Security office. If the Social Security benefit is the only income for the paying parent or they have other child support obligations, it is possible that less money may be withheld.

On the other hand, if it is not possible to get the full amount from the Social Security deduction, a parent might also look into having a sum withheld from taxes. Having a legal child support agreement in place will make the process of pursuing unpaid child support more straightforward. If parents have not made a formal legal agreement, the other parent may have a more difficult time pursuing that support.

When a relationship ends, it may be in the best interests of both parents and children to get an agreement in place that has been approved by a judge. An attorney may be helpful in negotiating issues around support, visitation and custody. Individuals who are required to pay child support and have a change in circumstances such as job loss may wish to go to court to have the agreement changed rather than simply ceasing to pay.

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