Child Support and Non-Custodial Parent Disability

I was full of questions when my ex became disabled. He said that he was going to sign up for Social Security and our daughter would be able to draw too.

I was skeptical at first. He hasn’t had the most stable work history. I doubted that he would have enough credits.

For those of you who don’t know: SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) is based on how much you have paid in to Social Security before becoming disabled. There is also something called SSI (Supplemental Security Income) for those who did not pay enough into social security before becoming disabled. SSI is a great program in that it gives you a little money to live off of. But it does not come with all the benefits of SSDI. Specifically, children can get benefits too if their parent gets SSDI. But no benefits if the parent is getting SSI.

A couple of weeks ago I found out that my ex is getting social security. He practically called me a liar when I told him that our daughter is not getting anything. So I called the Social Security office, who said that they would have had to talk to me (the custodial parent) to set up her benefits. I am guessing this was something in the paperwork that he overlooked.

The Social Security Phone Interview

Social Security offered me a phone appointment so that I wouldn’t have to take off work and drive to their nearest office. The call came over an hour later than what was scheduled, but the actual appointment went by pretty quickly. They asked a lot of questions including:

  • If I was ever married to my daughter’s dad
  • If he ever married anybody else (yes)
  • What I knew about this other person (not much. They separated years ago and she was in bad health last time I saw her)
  • My driver’s license number and bank account information for direct deposit

They said that they would have to see a copy of the child support order before they could process our application. But my daughter should receive $64 per month.

$64 per month!

Do you have any idea how much I worried about what my daughter would receive? All of my research suggested that she would either get more than $300 or get nothing.  $0 would have been disappointing and I would have felt awkward about accepting over $300 per month on my daughter’s behalf. But it would have been nice to help pay down some debt and to put the extra in savings for when she gets older.

$64 is a nice amount. It will definitely help out! And there is no way somebody could question if I am using such a small amount appropriately. During the phone interview, they were very clear that this money was only to be used for my daughter’s “food, clothing, and other expenses”.  I spend about $50 per month on her school lunches alone.