People who receive Social Security disability benefits in Illinois know how important those monthly payments are. For many, it is their only source of income. However, Social Security disability benefits will soon be paid out electronically which could pose a serious problem for recipients who are behind on child support payments.
In the past, people have been able to collect their disability benefits by paper check. Before the checks are sent, states are allowed to garnish up to 65 percent of benefits from people who owe child support payments. However, once the benefits are distributed electronically, states have the power to freeze bank accounts, leaving disability recipients with nothing.
Although electronic payments will save the government about $10 billion over the next ten years, about 275,000 men who receive disability benefits will be affected. Because disability benefits may be their only source of income, many of those men will be unable to pay their bills and may be forced into poverty.
One man suffered a serious back injury in 2000. He has been receiving disability benefits, but fell behind on his child support payments. He now owes about $7,000. However, any money that is garnished will not go to his son, who is now 22, instead that money will go to the state since his son collected welfare.
Disability benefits will be deposited electronically starting next March. In the meantime, those who may be negatively affected by this would do well to consult with an attorney. An attorney can help an individual determine the best course of action for them to continue receiving the benefits they so desperately need.
Source: Newsday, “Child support plan would seize checks,” Daniel Wagner, Feb. 26, 2012