The first consideration for garnishing a Social Security check for child support is the type of benefits the parent receives. If the parent receives Supplemental Security Income, the government does not allow anybody to garnish it because it is categorized as a welfare benefit. Other types of Social Security benefits, such as disability, retirement and survivor benefits, are subject to garnishment because they are earned income.
To request a garnishment against Social Security benefits, the custodial parent must first get a judge to issue an income withholding order. To do this, he or she has to show that the other parent has not paid child support as ordered or agreed. The custodial parent will then need to take that order to the local Social Security office to request that they garnish the benefits.
The law limits the Social Security Administration from withholding more than 65 percent of a person’s benefits, and this amount may be less if the other parent is supporting another spouse or child. Some state laws also limit this percentage even further. If the person stops receiving benefits for any reason, the Social Security Administration will keep the garnishment on file and begin withholding again after payments resume.
Collecting child support can be a difficult process, and the court could order collection through various methods. An attorney could assist the custodial parent with filing for income withholding orders along with bank levies. This would allow the parent to take money from paychecks, Social Security checks, income tax refunds and even entire bank accounts, depending on state law and the other parent’s financial situation at the time.