Can VA Disability Be Garnished for Child Support?

Yes, it is possible to garnish VA disability compensation for child support, given the process follows many strict rules and regulations by VA and federal law. When it comes to separation and divorce, it is often followed by the duty to provide child support.

However, a veteran living on the VA disability benefits can garnish it for that end. This non-taxable payment has a garnishment range of 20% to 50%. But while going for it, you may even need to follow many state laws on top of the federal and VA rules.

Let’s discuss the matter in more detail below.

Understanding Apportionment

Apportionment is the process of cutting an amount from a VA’s benefit as garnishment by the VA. You may find this word going around a lot during the process. A spouse or child must be added as a dependent properly if they want to get the garnishment without issues or delays.

The reason for the VA compensation is not only to support the veterans themselves but also their family members, AKA dependents. Hence, when a former spouse elects any amount from the veteran’s benefit, they can get it, given it stays within the proper limit and rules.

Can VA Garnish Veteran’s Benefit?

Yes, under Title 38, a veteran has to support their dependents, which includes garnishing for child support if needed. The garnishment only applies to the monthly compensation payment you get. So, it won’t affect any of your other benefits.

It can already be challenging to lead a life with disabilities. But when VA deducts an amount of your VA payment monthly, it may get more disappointing. When you stay with your dependents, the VA adds an extra amount for each dependent. However, in the case of child support, VA garnishes from your actual amount.

Alternative Method to VA Benefit’s Garnishment

You can try a method to get around VA’s garnishment of your disability benefits. However, a portion of your payment will still be deducted.

The process is to waive a certain percentage (usually 25% or more) of your military retirement pay. It allows you to get a non-taxed payment. When your spouse wants to garnish child support, in this case, the VA will take the amount from this retirement pay, not from your disability benefits.

Aside from child support, you can also meet alimony with this garnishment. You should check both methods and see which one will be more beneficial to you. Other than these, there are different scenarios when the VA may not garnish from your benefits. They are as follows-

  • If your child or former spouse hasn’t gone for an apportionment.
  • Your former spouse has married to someone else.
  • If your former spouse is guilty of Conjugal Infidelity. This term refers to cheating on your spouse.
  • If the apportionment will lead to financial hardship for the veteran’s life. VA looks through many factors to determine this, including your occupation, health, people around you, and such.

If VA decides not to garnish, it will pay you in full.

How Much Can VA Garnish from Your VA Benefits

VA can garnish from 20% to 50% of your VA benefits for alimony or child support. When they garnish any amount, each child will get an equal amount. The percentage can’t be less than 20% as the VA considers it too low for the dependents. Meanwhile, it can’t be over 50%, which will be too tough on the veteran.

You and your former spouse can decide on a percentage or visit a disability lawyer to help you do it. Note that the VA will provide the final verdict in this case. Given specific scenarios, they may even choose not to garnish from your benefit.

What to Do When VA Decides to Garnish from Your Benefit

When there is a matter of child support and a chance of garnishment from your VA benefit, it is imperative to document everything related to your dealing with your former spouse. It will help you greatly in your future disputes. It will also aid your lawyer.

Another mandatory task is to gather as much information as you can regarding the matter. Your best bet here is to visit your local VA office. Alternatively, if you have hired any VA-accredited lawyer, they may also give you the necessary details.

You don’t want to get taken by surprise. Not to mention, you may also find options you have that you didn’t know. As we said before, different states have their own rules and regulations about garnishment. So, doing your homework is necessary.

You may also need mental and moral support in such challenging times. We recommend visiting and engaging with close ones, supporters, and well-wishers. You may need encouragement to pull through this predicament.

While documenting and filing for any claim, should you need a medical report, consider counseling with the VA Disability Coach to get your eligibility review.

Final Note

Dealing with garnishment from your VA benefits for alimony and child support can be a hassle. After all, you are already dealing with your disabilities and such. But with the proper preparation, knowledge, steps, and help, it won’t feel as hard.