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SSI: Can my benefits be taken to pay back child support?

There are some situations that result in income being garnished to pay debts like credit cards, but what about SSI benefits?

cash and social security card representing ssi benefits

There are different rules in place for individuals who collect Social Security and SSI.

SSI has a maximum monthly payout of $841 per month.

The type of debt you owe determines if and when income is taken from your benefits.


SSI: Children can see benefits worth up to $3,796 per month, but how?

Process for collecting debt

A person who owes money could be sued by a creditor or lender if they owe them money.

By winning, the creditor could get the bank the borrower goes to to give them the money.

That’s the process of garnishing owed debt.

The bank cannot allow certain forms of income to be garnished.


This includes money from

  • Social Security
  • SSI
  • Veterans
  • Federal railroad retirement, unemployment and sickness
  • Civil service retirement system
  • Federal employee retirement system

When can they take my SSI benefits to pay?

SSI benefits are usually protected by law and cannot be used to pay things like credit card debt, medical bills, or personal loans.

There are some types of debts that can be paid with SSI benefits.

This includes

  • Federal taxes
  • Federal student loans
  • Child support
  • Other federal debts


Up to 15% of your Social Security can be taken for these debts.

For child support, depending on your state, a higher amount can be taken.

If you’re supporting another child they can take up to 50%.

Those who aren’t can have up to 60% taken.

If your support is 12 weeks late, they can take 65%.

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