Q. My Brother is 62 years old and recently qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. He has received his first monthly payment. He is divorced and his ex-wife and one minor child will also be receiving a separate monthly payment. His former spouse wants to claim half of his monthly payment to compensate for his non-payment of child support over the last few years. Can she take a portion of his payment as well?


A. Since 1974, child support laws have allowed a portion of Social Security and other Federal payments to be garnisheed for current or retroactive child support or alimony payments. However, the person seeking the payments must obtain a court garnishment order. If a valid order is submitted to the Social Security Administration, the agency must comply.

Your brother’s former wife is receiving only a payment for the minor child. A divorced spouse is not eligible for a caregiver benefit during the wage earner’s lifetime.