Can Child Support Be Garnished From Workers’ Compensation?

In the state of New York, child support can be garnished from workers’ compensation.

New York State court takes into account many sources of money as income for child support purposes. Workers’ compensation is considered income for child support purposes. These benefits are seen as a replacement of a worker’s usual wages while he or she is injured or permanently impaired.

Since the money is considered a substitute for lost income, this means a parent needs to support their child with it just the same as if the money was earned on the job. The same goes if the other parent is injured and receives workers’ compensation.

Garnishment is governed by both Federal and State law.

The court considers many different sources of money as income for child support purposes. On the New York State child support worksheet, a parent must list workers’ compensation for the purpose of determining the amount of child support that the noncustodial parent will pay. Specifically, the income used to calculate child support includes the following sources in addition to gross total income reported on a federal tax return(Domestic Relations Law 240 DRL §240 1-b(b)(5)(iii)).

  • workers’ compensation
  • disability benefits
  • unemployment insurance benefits
  • Social Security benefits
  • veterans benefits
  • pension and retirement benefits
  • fellowships and stipends
  • annuity payment

Section 459 of the Social Security Act also provides for the garnishment of certain Federal payments, including workers’ compensation, to satisfy obligations for child support.

Noncustodial parents who do not pay their child support are likely to see their workers’ compensation benefit check or lump sum payment garnished. Custodial parents may request garnishment through the courts to if they are not receiving the court-ordered payments. Garnishment is a court-ordered process that gives permission to a debt collector or creditor to take money directly from a person’s earnings or benefits to satisfy a debt. In New York, the system is set up so that the custodial parent can receive child support payments without relying on the noncustodial parent to make the payments. A Workers’ Compensation claimant who is the subject of an income execution or child support order will have payments deducted from his or her Workers’ Compensation checks and paid directly to the beneficiary.

If a parent is behind on child support and files a workers’ comp claim, the New York Division of Child Support Endorsement (NYDCSE) will receive notice of the claim.

When a worker receives a lump sum workers’ comp settlement under Section 32 of the New York State Workers’ Compensation Law and he or she is overdue on child support payments, any child support or arrears must be paid in full from the proceeds of the settlement.

Workers’ compensation claimants without child support arrears need to know that there is a good chance that some of their settlement will go towards child support payments. The settlement is usually treated like any other form of income.

Individuals with questions regarding how child support obligations or arrears will affect their workers’ compensation settlement should contact an experienced New York workers’ compensation lawyer.

For over 40 years, David H. Perecman has distinguished himself as one of the leading personal injury lawyers in New York City, championing all types of personal injury cases including construction accidents, premises accidents, automobile accidents, and medical malpractice, along with employment discrimination, false arrest, and civil rights cases.