Brian D. Perskin & Associates
In a Divorce, Can Social Security Benefits Be Garnished?

If you are divorced, one of the most difficult things to deal with may be money issues. If you have been ordered to pay alimony or another form of spousal support, but fall short on payments, you may be subject to garnishment of your wages. But what about Social Security, disability, or other benefits? Can social security benefits be garnished in a divorce?

What Are Marital Assets?

In terms of what can and cannot be garnished after a divorce settlement, the term “marital assets” is an important one to remember. “Marital assets” refers to the property that was acquired by both spouses during the course of their marriage. Marital assets can include joint bank accounts, homes or other property, jewelry, or other similar possessions.

In most states, marital assets are divided under the principal of community property. This principle holds that the property was held jointly and evenly, and this is subject to a 50/50 split during a divorce. This is considered a fair disbursement, though obviously how property is actually divided during divorce proceedings depends on a number of circumstances which are unique to each case. As such, you should always consult with an experienced divorce attorney.

benefits garnishment and divorce

Social Security and Marital Assets

Now that you understand what a marital asset is and how they are divided in divorce, how does this principle apply to social security or other state benefits?

Social Security and disability insurance coverages are granted special protection from particular civil proceedings under the federal Social Security Act. The Social Security Act stipulates that disability benefits cannot be subject to any “levy or attachment”.  What this means is that if an individual had a personal bank account which was solely used for benefits like Social Security or disability, those funds would be expressly excluded from any court-ordered division of property.

If, however, the disability or Social Security funds were co-mingled into a joint account for use of both spouses, that money may be subject to the principle of community property and liable to fair share distribution during a divorce.

Can Social Security Payments be Garnished?

So, can Social Security payments be garnished for alimony? Simply put, yes. Garnishment is considered a fair way to satisfy the terms of your spousal support agreement which was finalized in the divorce proceedings. As such, Social Security and disability benefits may be used to satisfy this agreement should you fail to make regular and timely payments.

Contact an Experienced New York Divorce Attorney Today

Filing for divorce can be a difficult decision to make but selecting the right attorney doesn’t have to be. Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. is one of the most trusted names in New York when it comes to divorce litigation. Brian and his team are aggressive, experienced, intelligent, strategic and most importantly, compassionate. They work diligently with clients and customize representation strategies to fit their individual needs. So, if you’re looking for a divorce attorney who will fight for you, call Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. today at (888)793-1484 for your free consultation, and learn why we’re New York’s premier divorce law firm.