Child Support and Social Security Disability for Children
Many payees of child support often wonder how a child’s receipt of Social Security Disability affects their child support payments. The simple answer is that it does not. There is no reduction in a payee’s child support order nor is there a waiver of any child support.
Despite the fact that Social Security Disability may be used for the same expenses that child support is used for the New York Court of Appeals has ruled that the New York Child Support Standards Act does not provide for any reduction in child support based off of the child’s receipt of disability payments.
In the Matter of Graby v. Graby, a 1996 Court of Appeals Case, the Court ruled that
“In many cases, granting the noncustodial parent a credit for Social Security disability benefits earmarked for dependent children might effectively abolish the child support obligation of that parent, who has regular and consistent income, and at the same time disproportionately reduce the resources available to the children”.
The Court further ruled that “A credit for such Social Security payments also interferes with the goal of protecting children “as much as possible from the overall decline in living standards that results from parents maintaining two households”.
The key ruling in this decision is the following “Absent such direction by our Legislature in its precise child support guidelines, we decline to reduce the resources ultimately available to children by treating Social Security disability payments to dependents as income of the disabled parent or as a credit against that parent’s support obligation”
In Graby, the child was receiving disability benefits because of the non-custodial parents’ disability but there is no distinction if the child is receiving disability based off of the child’s disability and Courts have followed Graby no matter what facts surround the child’s receipt of such payments.
So until the Legislature changes the Laws the Court will continue its ruling as stated herein. The Court of Appeals is the highest Court in New York and all Courts are bound to its decisions.
Does this decision seem fair is worthy of debate but that requires political intervention.