Child Support and Social Security Benefits

Determining monthly child support payments in Missouri can be a daunting task. Child support is typically calculated according to a document called Form 14. By using that form, judges, as well as attorneys, can determine a child support payment based on the parent’s income and other contributing factors such as Social Security Benefits.

A child can receive Social Security benefits in two ways:
1. If the child has a disability, the child can receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits;
2. If the child’s parent has a disability, the child can receive benefits through, but separate from, the Social Security benefits of the disabled parent.

Children younger than 18 can qualify for Supplemental Security Income payments if they have a medical condition or combination of conditions that meets Social Security’s definition of disability. When deciding whether the child is eligible for these benefits child’s income and resources, as well as the income and resources of other family members in the child’s household, are considered.

Children may also be eligible for Social Security dependents benefits. Parents who receive Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI may ask for approval and apply for dependent child benefits.


How Are Child Support Benefits Calculated?

In Missouri, child support starts with the calculation of the Presumed Amount of Support using Form 14. To calculate the Presumed Support, the starting point is the gross income of the parents.

The Directions on Use for Form 14 specifically provide that Social Security Disability (SSD) payments to a parent based on their disability are included in their gross income. The SSD payments received by the child based on a parent’s disability are not included in the gross income of the parent receiving the benefits for the child.

Supplemental Security Income or SSI payments made to a parent due to their disability are not included in that parent’s gross income for Form 14.

If the child receives SSDI benefits, it will be counted towards income for the parent. But, if the children’s SSDI benefits derive from a non-custodial parent, the court will subtract the amount you receive from SSDI from the child support obligation.


How Social Security Benefits Affect Child Support Calculation?

SSD received by a child may be considered as an offset against a parent’s obligation to pay child support, if the SSD is based on that parent’s disability. In addition, the Directions on Use to Form 14 direct the judge to consider the resources of the child in determining whether to award the presumed amount of child support or to deviate therefrom. Deviation based on a child’s receipt of SSD benefits as a result of a parent’s disability is unlikely to happen.

If the SSD paid to the child based on the disability of the parent obligated to pay support is greater than either the existing child support amount or the presumed child support amount, the obligated parent is not entitled to a credit for the excess against past or future support or receipt of the excess.

SSI benefits paid to the child based on the child’s disability is likewise not considered part of the gross income of the custodial parent who receives those funds on Form 14.

As with SSD, SSI can be considered as a resource for the child in considering whether to find Form 14 unjust and inappropriate, but this is extremely unlikely.


How Can The Carson Law Firm Firm Help?

Resolving issues related to child support can be complex. Although certain do-it-yourself child support calculators exist, only an experienced child support lawyer in Clayton, Missouri, can tell you what can impact child support amount.

If you have more questions about how Social Security Benefits can impact child support, contact a child support attorney at The Carson Law Firm.