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Can Texas Really Take My Social Security Check and Unemployment for Child Support?

Written by Steve Rhode

Question:

Dear Steve,

The TX AG is taking half of my social security check and half of my disability unemployment check, leaving Me with not nearly enough to pay rent, utilities, insurance and other debts.

Mike

Answer:

Dear Mike,

Unfortunately, Texas is one of those states where the state has the authority to request the Social Security Administration to withhold part of your benefits to pay your legal obligation for child support, alimony, or restitution. – Source

The State of Texas says, “We have no control over this reduction of Social Security benefits, and there is no appeal available under the Social Security Act. If you have questions in this situation, contact Treasury staff at 1-800-304-3107.”

You can always contact the Texas Child Support Division to “to discuss your options for a payment modification.” – Source

When it comes to unemployment benefits in Texas, the State says, “Child support will be taken from your unemployment benefits through wage withholding. The Texas Workforce Commission withholds according to your support payment obligations. Up to 50 percent of the unemployment earnings can be withheld to satisfy your current monthly obligations.” – Source

Dealing with government programs, obligations, income withholding can be confusing and wander into legal rights.

There may be some remedies to ask for a modification of the garnishment but you will either need to negotiate a reduction with the Texas agency that has initiated the withholding and/or speak with a Legal Aid attorney in Texas. You can find an attorney or legal assistance, here.

The bottom line is the fact you may legally owe benefits to care for your child. And it is that root obligation that has caused the need for income garnishment.

If you were able to obtain a child support modification it would eventually adjust the amount that is being withheld. For information on how to do that, click here.

READ  Get a Child Support Order, File Bankruptcy, and Give the Finger to Deadbeat Dad

Sincerly,
Steve

You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.





About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

3 Comments

  • So this garnishment leaves “not nearly enough to pay rent, utilities, insurance and other debts”? You mean like child support? How are the children supposed to pay rent, utilities, insurance without help from both parents?

    Too bad you are only concerned with your own well being and not the well being of your children who didn’t choose to be born to a parent who is not committed to completing the great responsibility that is raising children.

    I suggest you get a part time job to offset the short, sell stuff you have laying around, get a roommate, cut your cable, get a library card, stop spending, perhaps consolidate existing debt, renegotiate interest rates with credit card companies. What debt are you paying that is more pressing than feeding your children? If your debt is overwhelming look into bankruptcy – child support cannot be discharged so don’t get too excited.

    Things will settle down soon and you will likely find a new full time job, meantime if someone has to go without, it needs to be you. (And start an emergency fund moving forward).

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