How Owing Child Support Affects Your Workers' Comp Benefits

Noncustodial parents in New York are required to pay child support until their children turn 21 years of age. But what happens when a noncustodial parent suffers an injury on the job and receives workers’ compensation benefits to pay for medical expenses and missed time from work while recovering?

Injured workers with children may experience financial strife and essentially fall behind on their child support obligation. But just because they were injured in a workplace accident doesn’t mean they can stop paying child support.

In fact, collection agencies can still go after workers’ compensation benefits if a noncustodial parent continuously fails to make payments. In New York, workers’ compensation benefits, Social Security benefits, disability benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, retirement benefits, veterans’ benefits, and stipends are subject to wage garnishment toward child support.

If you fall behind on your child support while receiving workers’ comp benefits, one of the following may occur:

  • Deduction from weekly benefits – Workers’ comp benefits are two-thirds of an injured employee’s average weekly wage multiplied by the percentage of disability. However, the amount cannot exceed the state’s weekly limit of $904.74 (if the accident happened between the beginning of July 2018 and the end of June 2019). If you fail to make child support payments, the court may request the workers’ comp insurer to automatically deduct a specific amount of your weekly benefits check to make up missed payments.
  • Deduction from lump sum settlement – If you are set to receive a lump sum settlement and you are behind on child support payments, the courts may put a lien on the settlement and require some or all your remaining child support arrearage to be paid from that settlement. Once owed child support is paid, you will receive the remaining amount of your settlement.

If you are injured, currently receiving workers’ compensation benefits, and owe child support, our New York City personal injury lawyers at Lurie, Ilchert, MacDonnell & Ryan LLP can help you negotiate the amount of deduction from your weekly benefits or settlement. It is also possible to speak with a family law attorney to see if it is possible to modify your child support obligation if you are struggling to make consistent payments.

For more information, contact us and schedule a free consultation today.

Categories: Workers' Compensation