Modifying child support when ex is receiving SSDI benefits

divorce attorney Jill DuffyQuestion:

My ex recently was approved for SSDI benefits along with my children receiving some back payments. Should I file a motion to have my child support reduced due to her receiving these benefits?

With the settlement money my children received, could I get child support modified retroactively for the previous years of payments?


In Michigan, courts are obligated to set child support consistent with the Michigan Child Support Formula. SSDI typically is not considered when determining the amount of income available to each parent for the purpose of a child support order. However, a child support payer receives credit for the amount that the minor child receives in SSDI if it is due to the payer’s disability/work history.

As you describe your situation, your children are receiving benefits based upon the payer’s disability. If the children live with the mother and you are the payer of child support, the mother will receive a credit for the SSDI they receive. If the SSDI does not cover the entire child support obligation, you will be required to pay the difference.

In Michigan, child support can only be modified retroactively to the date of filing a petition for modification. It is unlikely that you will have to pay him back for three years of payments.

Although I practice law in Michigan, I cannot give you legal advice without thoroughly reviewing your case. Do not rely on this information as establishing an attorney-client relationship. Contact an attorney immediately for assistance. Cordell & Cordell does represent clients in Michigan. Thank you for submitting your question.


Jill A. Duffy is an Associate Attorney in the Troy, Mich., office of Cordell & Cordell. She is licensed to practice in the state of Michigan. Ms. Duffy received her BA in Psychology and Spanish and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Oakland University. She received her Juris Doctor from Michigan State University College of Law and graduated Magna Cum Laude.

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One comment on “Modifying child support when ex is receiving SSDI benefits

    I’m on SSD since 2008 and have been my kids payee every since that date. Went through divorce in October 2013 finalized. Ex wife claimed $0 income even though she’s been working all along and received child support for $1032.50/month. We have 50/50 custody. In January my twist turned 18 and she went to social security and changed the payee from me to her even though she gets child support already. First of all, can she do that legally as it’s my claim and SSD and kids are over 18 now. So currently she’s collecting child support plus my SSD for the kids which is $357/month/kid. Have 3 boys total and she just recently changed the payee information with social security without my knowledge to take the 16 year old SSD as well that I was designed payee for as well per court order. Can I legally go after her for stealing my SSD Plus receiving child support. $1032.50+357+357+357 per month and we have 50/50 legal custody. How can she do that and get away with that?
    Tony Ahlgren

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