Is child support deducted from workers’ comp? We hear this question frequently at our law offices. Child support does impact the benefits or lump sum settlement you accept in return for being injured on the job.
But this is not a black-and-white area. The law is unclear about how out-of-state child support liens should be handled. If you have an existing order from another state, it may not be recognized in Pennsylvania. An out-of-state child support claim must be registered in PA to require payment. This is one of the nuances that can be confusing for workers’ comp recipients.
Will My Workers’ Compensation Be Taken for Child Support?
Yes — if you owe money under a current child custody agreement. An insurance company may receive an Order from a domestic relations Court compelling the insurance company to deduct child support payments from your workers’ comp checks. If your case is workers’ comp Court, before a workers’ comp Judge can order the payment of wage loss benefits to you, the court will require a check of your name to see if you owe child support. Unless you receive a small settlement, you will need to pay immediately before you collect your personal benefits. Let’s look at how this may play out:
Say you owe $10,000 in child support. You receive a lump sum benefit of $25,000 in your workers’ comp case. You will have to pay the $10,000 before you can access the other funds you receive. You have to pay your attorney fees on top of that. So you will end up collecting less than $15,000 for that settlement.
You should keep this in mind when negotiating a workers’ compensation settlement. Though a number your employer offers initially may seem generous, consider all the other things you may have to pay out from the settlement before accepting a number. An attorney can assist you with this process.
Does a Child Support Lien Affect Workers’ Comp?
Yes. If you have a lien against you for not paying child support, you will have to pay before you can access the workers’ comp money, depending on how much you owe. Your lawyer can help you negotiate the terms of the payoff. If the amount you receive in your workers’ comp settlement is $5,000 or lower, then you do not have to pay child support from that total right away.
Talk to a Lawyer About Child Support While on Workers’ Compensation
Child support laws have an influence on workers’ compensation case settlements and how much you will have to pay. You should gather all the information you can about these laws to ensure you understand what you will have to pay if you receive a lump sum settlement.
Your lawyer can help you navigate this confusing time. You may be able to negotiate terms for paying child support by returning to family court, where your attorney can request an appropriate solution to the issue.
Frommer D’Amico can assist you during this time. We specialize in workers’ compensation cases, and we only represent workers — never their employers. We have assisted many people with navigating child support payments from workers’ compensation settlements. We can explain your rights in the case. Contact us today to set up an initial consultation by getting in touch online or by calling us at 717-400-1000.