Is it Possible to Garnish Social Security Benefits for Alimony?

Alimony, like child support, is meant to provide you with the financial assistance you need to maintain your quality of life after a divorce. However, much like child support, it can be common for the payer to fall behind with or simply stop making payments. When this happens, there are a variety of ways you can enforce your right to receive the money you are owed, including the garnishment of your former spouse’s Social Security benefits.

The general rule in Florida is that Social Security benefits are not allowed to be garnished to pay off debts. A bank, for example, could not take Social Security money and apply it to a customer’s outstanding loan. However, there is an exception when it comes to alimony.

For alimony, there is no protection for these benefits. In fact, the Social Security Act explicitly states that the Social Security Administration and other federal government agencies may withhold benefits checks whenever deemed necessary to enforce a recipient’s right to alimony or child support payments.

However, only your former spouse’s retirement benefits and other work-related Social Security payments may be garnished. To that end, you are not allowed to garnish any disability benefits your ex-spouse receives from the Social Security Administration.

Seeking the spousal support owed to you

If you have determined Social Security benefit garnishment to be your best course of action, you’ll first need to head to court. Garnishment is usually considered a last resort, so the court will issue one final order to your former spouse to get payments in before garnishment begins. You may also contact the Social Security Administration directly for information on garnishing benefits, and speak with a skilled attorney to put together a detailed plan of action.

To learn more about Social Security garnishment related to outstanding alimony payments, speak with a trusted Tampa Bay divorce lawyer at the Law Office of K. Dean Kantaras.

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