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Can unpaid spousal support affect Social Security?

After a divorce, some people may struggle with various responsibilities, but spousal support payments can be particularly challenging for people who are experiencing financial problems. Unfortunately, falling behind on spousal support payments can create even more financial hardships for both parties. As a result, it is pivotal to understand the importance of staying current on alimony obligations and some of the consequences associated with becoming delinquent. Many people are surprised to find that missing spousal support payments can affect their lives in other ways, such as their ability to receive Social Security benefits.

According to the Social Security Administration, Social Security benefits may be withheld in order to enforce a person’s spousal support obligations. Although the SSA states that they do not make adjustments on a retroactive basis, they do garnish current Social Security benefits as well as those which continue on a monthly basis. Moreover, those who have had their benefits garnished cannot appeal the decision, although the SSA points out that people who disagree with the garnishment of their benefits may reach out to a legal professional.

If you have found yourself unable to continue paying spousal support, you should do whatever you can to resolve the situation before it becomes even more problematic. Sometimes, when people experience financial difficulties they are able to lower the amount of spousal support that they are required to pay, which can be very helpful. By going over your options, you might be able to avoid some of the problems that arise with back spousal support.