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Social Security Payments

Hello guys, I am the new director of the Chippewa Cree Child Support Program in Rocky Boy, MT.  I have recently come across an NCP who is receiving Social Security Benefits and has added his son to receive benefits as well.  The NCP has an order to pay child support for his son at $100 a month.  The child receives around $500 in social security benefits from his father each month.  We do not have anything currently in our code to address this.  We have reached out to the state of Montana and they follow what is know as Cowan Adjustments.  This case law only allows Social Security benefits to be applied to current child support and not arrears.  In the case mentioned above only $100 out of the $500 received from social security is applied to the case without the additional $400 being applied to arrears.  Since we are a Tribal Program we are not required to follow this case ruling.  I was wondering if any of your programs have any codes that address this subject.  Any help would be truly appreciated.

2 Responses

  1. White Earth Nation would go modify the order and offset the amount the child receives in SSN and deduct it from the child support there in return would modify the order to $0 basic support and establish an amount to be paid toward any arrears.

  2. Our policy is to either modify the order to zero and justify the deviation by indicating that the receipt of SSA dependent benefits by the child will be in lieu of child support or credit the monthly obligation by the amount of SSA benefit. In this case, the benefit amount is more than the monthly obligation so we would stop charging but in a case where the benefit is less than the ordered amount, we would only charge the difference and collect it and the arrears via IWO to SSA. A suggestion I would make is to be sure the CP is the one who applied for and is receiving the dependent benefit. We had a case once where the NCP was receiving the SSA dependent benefit for a child not living with him. Once CP applied and SSA realized NCP had received the dependent benefit fraudulently, NCP had to pay it back.

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