New Jerseyans receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are not immune from the normal vagaries of life. To the contrary, they are often more susceptible to hardships and bad luck. That can mean having trouble keeping up with key financial obligations like paying alimony, child support and taxes. Can getting behind on these obligations result in the person’s SSDI benefits being garnished?

In a word, yes. If New Jerseyans get behind on their obligations to pay alimony, restitution or child support, courts can issue a garnishment order that the Social Security Administration (SSA) will enforce. The SSA will normally do so by garnishing current and future benefits on a monthly basis. But the SSA will not try to claw back already distributed benefits. In other words, garnishment orders are not retroactive.

Just as with alimony, restitution and child support, the federal government may garnish people’s disability benefits if they have failed to pay their taxes. In such a case, the Treasury Department can withhold up to 15 percent of a person’s monthly disability benefits until the back taxes have been paid in full.

In each of the instances previously mentioned, New Jerseyans have no right to appeal to the SSA. Instead, the New Jerseyan will need to present his or her case in front of the body that ordered the garnishment. In the case of alimony, restitution or child support, the person would have to appeal in front of the court that issued the garnishment order. In the case of back taxes, the person would lodge an appeal with the Internal Revenue Service.

Garnishment is just one of the issues facing New Jerseyans receiving SSDI benefits for an injury that makes them unable to work. For guidance on issues relevant to their situation, New Jersey residents may benefit from speaking with an experienced disability attorney.