Can Workers’ Compensation Be Taken for Child Support?

When California employees are injured in workplace accidents or when they suffer from occupational diseases, it’s not uncommon for them to file a workers’ compensation claim and start receiving worker’s compensation benefits. However, workers’ compensation does not pay as much as a worker’s regular wage, so the injured worker can find themselves in a financial bind; they may not be able to afford their monthly child support payments.

“If I’m not working and I’m receiving workers’ compensation benefits, will my benefits be taken for child support?” is a question a lot of noncustodial parents ask. Since the monthly child support amount has to do with the obligor’s income, it’s understandable why so many parents would ask about this.

Workers’ Comp is Counted as Income

If you receive workers’ compensation benefits, they are counted as income for child support purposes. So, if you can’t afford your child support payments and you stop paying, your workers’ compensation benefits can be taken to pay child support arrears. If you receive Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits in lieu of, or in addition to workers’ compensation (claimants can receive both at the same time if they qualify), your SSDI benefits could also be taken for child support.

Child Support Modifications

If you are in the situation where you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits and now you cannot afford to pay your regular child support payments, our advice is to promptly petition the family courts for a downward modification.

Child support modifications are not retroactive; they only take effect from the date the judge changes the order. Regardless, you don’t want to stop paying your child support payments. It’s better to pay what you can instead of stopping altogether. If you stop paying your child support, the local child support agency can utilize any number of its enforcement tools available, including bank levies, liens, tax refund intercepts, and so on.

To petition the court for a child support modification, contact our firm for a case evaluation.