Social Security survivor benefit included as income in calculating child support

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Many elements go into the calculation of a child support obligation. Calculating a parent’s income for the purpose of determining a child support obligation is not as straightforward as one might think. Under Pennsylvania child support law, “income” is defined very broadly. The definition includes, but is not limited to, wages, salaries, bonuses, fees, commissions, interest, rents, royalties, dividends, pensions and all forms of retirement. Also included in “income” are “Social Security Disability Benefits, Social Security Retirement Benefits, Temporary and Permanent Disability Benefits, Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment Compensation “.

Additionally, in the Pennsylvania Support Guidelines, under the section titled “Calculation of Monthly Net Income”, the subsection titled “Treatment of Public Assistance, SSI Benefits, and Social Security Payments to a Child in death, disability or retirement of a parent” states, in part: “If a child is receiving Social Security derived benefits because of the death of a parent: * * * If the paying parent survivor receives benefits derived from Social Security, the benefit must be added to the parent’s monthly net income to calculate child support.”

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