Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are payable to individuals who have a long-term disability that limits their ability to earn income. The disability payments are meant to replace the income the recipient would have received if they had not become disabled. Essentially, disability payments have been pre-paid by the recipient during their employment. Accordingly, the recipient must have a sufficient earnings history, or in other words have paid social security long enough, to be eligible for payments. Your benefit will remain the same whether you are single or married. The issue of social security disability benefits may arise in the context of a support action. Social security disability benefits are recognized as a source of income pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 1910.16-2. Accordingly, a support order may require payment of a portion of the benefit received.
Benefits may also be payable to the children of the disabled party. Where child support is being calculated and the child(ren) at issue are receiving their own social security benefit, the amount of their benefit also must be accounted for in the support calculation. PA RCP 1910.16-2(b) goes into detail about the treatment of benefits received by the children in the context of support. The child’s benefit should be added to the net income of the parents for determining what the basic child support award should be based on the state guidelines. The amount of child support based on the support guidelines is then reduced by the amount of the child’s benefit. After the reduction, the appropriate support award would be calculated after considering each parent’s share of the support obligation based on their income, as well as other relevant factors such as health insurance costs and custody.