Perhaps you have just settled a workers’ compensation case and your payment includes a lump sum settlement. Don’t be surprised if the amount you thought you would receive is less than expected if you had back-owed child support or any non-paid child support. Workers’ compensation settlements are generally exempt from creditor claims; however, child support is not like other debts. By law, as much as half of your net recovery can be used to satisfy back-owed child support. Here are a few answers to common questions regarding the effect of child support on workers’ compensation.

Is my workers’ compensation affected by a child support lien?

Yes. If you have a lien against you for back support, you will have to pay before receiving workers’ compensation depending on how much you owe. Your workers’ comp attorney can help you negotiate the terms of the payoff.

Will child support be taken out of my workers’ compensation settlement?

Yes and you should keep this in mind when negotiating a workers’ compensation settlement. The insurance company may receive an order from a domestic relations court to deduct child support from your payments. A workers’ compensation judge will require a search of records to see if you owe money under a current custody agreement. You will be required to pay immediately.

What about my ongoing support obligation?

If you have an ongoing support obligation and there is a domestic relations order requiring the insurance company to deduct ongoing support, the parent receiving support may be entitled to a payment from your settlement for future support. You should discuss this with your attorney before settling your case.

How do my weekly workers’ compensation benefits affect my child support obligation?

Workers’ compensation wage loss benefits are considered income for purposes of calculating the amount of child support owed because the benefits are meant to replace lost wages. Of course, if you are receiving less income via your workers’ comp payments, you may be entitled to an adjustment in what you are obligated to pay. You should discuss this with your domestic relation attorney.

Can my workers’ compensation benefit be used for ongoing child support?

The custodial parent can collect child support by having a portion of your ongoing weekly disability checks taken out, just like wage garnishment for child support collection.

Child support laws are strictly enforced and can affect a workers’ compensation case especially a lump sum settlement case. You should gather and understand as much information as possible prior to negotiations. A certified workers’ compensation attorney can help you navigate the law.