Children on Social Security & Child Support in New Jersey

By Tom Streissguth

When a divorce involves children, the court typically has to address the issue of child support. In a child support arrangement, the parent who has custody receives a regular payment from the noncustodial parent. The amount of the payment depends on many different factors, which can vary according to state law. In New Jersey, the earnings of both parents are included in the calculation for child support; however, "means-tested" public benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income, are not included.

Social Security Programs

The Social Security Administration runs two benefit programs for the disabled: Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. For the former, a beneficiary must be at least 18 years of age. For SSI, there is no minimum age; a child may receive monthly SSI payments for a disability as long as the household meets the asset and income guidelines. SSI is a "means-tested" program designed to assist low-income families. The unadjusted monthly benefit rate reached $721 as of 2014.

New Jersey Support Guidelines

In New Jersey, when it comes to calculating child support amounts, state law provides for adjustments to the parents' incomes. For example, if a parent has other legal dependents outside the family involved in the divorce, the law takes this into consideration. Government benefits paid to, or on behalf of, children also may give rise to an adjustment in the amount of income attributed to a parent.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

SSI Benefits and Child Support

Social Security pays SSI benefits for a child to the parent as the child's custodian; it is not counted as income to the parent in a New Jersey child support calculation. This places SSI alongside other means-tested benefits such as food stamps, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, rent subsidies and refugee assistance. If a child draws Social Security benefits on the work record of another relative, however, New Jersey will count them. This would be the case if a divorced father draws Social Security retirement, for example, and the child is eligible for a "family benefit" of his own based on the father's work record. Such a benefit would be counted as income for the parent who receives it on behalf of the child.

SSI Adjustments for Child Support

In determining eligibility for SSI, the Social Security Administration takes child support payments into account. Social Security Disability benefits are never adjusted for household income or assets. The agency excludes one-third of the child support received, which is considered "unearned income" to the household, but it adjusts the SSI benefit for the balance. Thus, if a household collects $721 a month in SSI, but then is awarded $600 a month in child support, Social Security will reduce the SSI benefit to $321 a month because two-thirds of the child support is deducted from SSI.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Child Support & Social Security in California

References

Related articles

Will My Child Support Lower My Child's SSI Amount?

If you have a special-needs child and you're facing divorce, the issue of child support can be tricky, because it could affect the government benefits she's receiving. Supplemental Security Income provides money to disabled and blind individuals, including children. They do not receive this income simply because they're infirm, however. They must also have limited earnings and assets. The Social Security Administration has taken the position that child support is unearned income to your child.

What Percent of Income Does CT Take Out in Child Support for the Noncustodial Parent?

Parents have the duty to support their children financially, both before and after divorce, so Connecticut law aims to provide adequate financial resources for a child through court-ordered child support payments. The percentage of a noncustodial parent’s income that goes toward child support depends on the total income of both parents, how much of that total must go for child support and the percentage of that total income that the noncustodial parent earns.

Child Support Laws in New York State

Child support refers to payments by a non-custodial parent to a custodial parent for the benefit and maintenance of a minor child. State laws govern child support, but judges have some discretion. In New York, child support is treated as a separate matter from visitation and custody. A parent cannot withhold child support payments because the other party is interfering with his custodial or visitation rights.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Can VA Disability Compensation Be Used to Calculate Child Support or Income?

In addition to child custody, separating couples with children must figure out how to handle child support. While the ...

Kentucky State Laws on Child Support Collection

When parents separate or divorce, the parent who does not have primary custody of the children will be required to pay ...

How Does Louisiana's Child Support System Work?

When parents divorce, children may suffer financially from the decreased household income level. Child support orders ...

Illinois Laws on Child Support of Disabled Children

In Illinois, as in all states, parents are responsible for financially supporting their children. This is true even ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED