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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Default How is Support Calculated with a Low SSDI Benefit Amount

    My question involves child support in the State of: INDIANA

    My wife was awarded SSDI on 8/9/2013. After speaking with the local SSA office we were told that my wife did not contribute enough in taxes for her children to receive derivative benefits. She will get $481.60 a month in SSDI (she is unable to work to due to a debilitating mental illness) because she was 23 at the time she became disabled. The child support agency notified the SSA that they would garnish her backpay to cover her arrears and have a continuing garnishment to her monthly benefit amount (Her support order is $76.50 a week for two children) leaving her with just $130 a month. Her support order was based on the assumption that she had the potential income of minimum wage 40 hours a week. Now that a judge has said she is unable to work I don't understand how they could say she has the potential to earn $15,080 a year ($7.25X40=290 per week X 52 weeks) when her total yearly SSDI income will be $5,779. She is unable to get SSI because she is married to me and I make too much. I had been paying her support for 2 years while she applied for SSDI because I knew she was unable to maintain substantial gainful employment and the court would put her in jail if I did not pay it. Now that a judge has determined she cannot work (ie no potential income) and she has an actual annual income of $5,779 can the support order be modified and if so what is it likely to be after a modification hearing? Any help would be greatly appreciated. My wife and I were both disappointed on hearing that she did not contribute enough for her children to qualify for derivative benefits both for the children's and our financial stake.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Somewhere near Canada
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    35,894

    Default Re: How is Support Calculated with a Low SSDI Benefit Amount

    She can try to modify it, but even people on disability are generally expected to support their children. It's unfortunate that she didn't earn enough credits to provide the children with dependent benefits.
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    3

    Default Re: How is Support Calculated with a Low SSDI Benefit Amount

    Quote Quoting Dogmatique
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    She can try to modify it, but even people on disability are generally expected to support their children. It's unfortunate that she didn't earn enough credits to provide the children with dependent benefits.
    I agree that she would be expected to pay some support since she has income, but when determining weekly gross income if the "potential income" is used then it states that:
    (5) When a parent is unable to obtain employment because that parent suffers from debilitating mental illness, a debilitating health issue, or is caring for a disabled child, it may be inappropriate to attribute any potential income to that parent. Another example may be when the cost of child care makes employment economically unreasonable.

    Since a judge agreed that she has a debilitating mental illness wouldn't the court be required to at least recalculate the support order based on her actual income? Am I grasping at straws or does this sound logical?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Somewhere near Canada
    Posts
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    Default Re: How is Support Calculated with a Low SSDI Benefit Amount

    It's not required unless someone makes a point of filing for a modification.

    Which is what I said
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    3

    Default Re: How is Support Calculated with a Low SSDI Benefit Amount

    Quote Quoting Dogmatique
    View Post
    It's not required unless someone makes a point of filing for a modification.

    Which is what I said
    Ha. Fair enough. A support modification petition has already been filed by her attorney and is scheduled for November. He does not have the numbers that I received today though and I am wondering what the likely outcome of the support modification petition will be (ie is it safe to assume the court would lower the support order based on actual income). We expected that her children would receive the dependent benefits before learning they wont today and it was pretty upsetting to find out that they will not. This dramatically changed our expectation of her monthly benefit amount and I was trying to find out if the support order had a good chance of getting lowered or if we should expect that it will not change. I appreciate your answer. I should have been clearer. It's been stressful for years and I'm hoping for a little peace of mind. I'm still trying to be optimistic and if I'm wrong then I'd just like to know that too rather than be disappointed again later.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Somewhere near Canada
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    35,894

    Default Re: How is Support Calculated with a Low SSDI Benefit Amount

    This is something she needs to ask her attorney. It IS possible for a court to change the obligation to zero - but this is not common.

    I know you're looking for some sort of piece of mind, but I don't think we can give you that - at least not this weekend. Have her call the attorney first thing Monday morning.
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: How is Support Calculated with a Low SSDI Benefit Amount

    Since she can't work & this will be her max income it will likely be used to calculate support making it less than the roughly $300/60% a month she would be paying if the order stayed the same.

    If you can find calculation work sheets online you can use her actual income instead of the imputed income to get a ball park figure.

    You will have to wait unt hearing to find out the amount for sure though.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    OH10
    Posts
    17,019

    Default Re: How is Support Calculated with a Low SSDI Benefit Amount

    The court will asses the issue and factor in the fact that you are providing for your wife. They will also consider the ability of their father to provide for them with reduced support. The bottom line is she had the kids and their needs must be considered before hers.

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