Justia Public Benefits Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Wyoming Supreme Court
Father was ordered to pay child support and soon developed child support arrearages. Later, Father became disabled. Father and his children received lump sum Social Security disability benefits payments for the period retroactive to the date Father became eligible for the benefits. In a series of orders, the district court gave Father credit (1) against his child support arrearages back to the date he became eligible for benefits, and (2) for amounts that had been withheld from his monthly disability payments under an income withholding order for the period after he became disabled but before he became eligible to receive benefits. The court, however, refused to credit any of the disability payments against arrearages existing on the date Father became disabled. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court may not credit Social Security disability benefits paid to dependent children against child support arrearage owed before the obligor became disabled. Because such benefits belong to the children, not the obligor, they are not available to be applied as a credit or offset to amounts owed by the obligor.