Child Support Obligations in Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Cases
Child Support and Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Wage loss Benefits
After a work injury, it can be difficult for injured workers’ to take care of their financial obligations including child support. Although a work injury may cause the worker to stop working a parent cannot just stop paying child support. They are required to continue to pay child support. As a result workers’ compensation wage loss benefits can be reduced per a mathematical formula to pay for child support.
In the event, an injured worker cannot pay, the parent must get the child support order adjusted. Otherwise, the parent will continue to have to pay the same amount regardless of their workers’ compensation status.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services provided the following information:
Contact your child support office
By law, you must tell your child support office within 10 days if your income changes. Call your county child support worker if you:
- Lose your job
- Get a new job
- Change jobs
You can get your county worker’s phone number and address on Minnesota Child Support Online, the case information line or by calling your main county child support office. If you are unable to contact your worker, call the state child support office.
Your court order continues after a job loss
The child support you owe is court-ordered. Only a court order can change the amount you are obligated to pay. A monthly child support obligation does not automatically stop when your source of income ends. You must make a request to modify your child support order to change the amount you must pay. It takes a new court order to change the existing court order.
Withholding from unemployment benefits
Sometimes unemployment benefits take a while to start. When they start, or shortly thereafter, the Minnesota Department of Economic and Employment Development (DEED) will begin to withhold weekly payments for your child support. However, your next child support payment may be due before you get your first unemployment check. You are responsible for making your payments directly to the Minnesota Child Support Payment Center until unemployment or a new employer begins withholding and sending payments on your behalf.
Your unemployment benefits may be less than the amount your former employer paid you. DEED may not be able to withhold the full amount of support you owe each month due to the Consumer Credit Protection Act. Even if DEED withholds less than the amount you are court-ordered to pay, you are still responsible for the unpaid portion.
Consequences for not paying child support
If you pay only part of what you owe or you do not pay at all, the child support office may use enforcement remedies to collect the amount you owe, including:
- Intercepting federal or state income and property tax refunds
- Denying student grant payments for higher education
- Charging interest on the past due support, also called arrears
- Reporting the amount you owe to the national credit reporting agencies
- Suspending your driver’s, occupational or recreational licenses
- Denying a passport application or renewal
Workers’ Compensation Settlements and Child support Obligations
In some cases, an injured worker may be presented with an opportunity to settle their case in exchange for a one time, lump sum payment. If an injured worker settles their workers’ compensation case and receives a “lump-sum” settlement of $500 or more, any child support arrears will need to be addressed. The Workers’ Compensation Court 0f Appeals has found that an employee’s workers’ compensation lump-sum settlement award is subject to sequestration to satisfy child support arrearages. Child support obligations will need to be addressed in a settlement
Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Before settling your workers’ compensation case, it is extremely important you know what you are agreeing to settle and the settlement documents mean. The types of workers compensation settlements matter. If you do not have an attorney and are contemplating a settlement offer, it is always a good idea to talk with a lawyer. Jerry is willing to sit down with and discuss your case at no charge. Often times, you can get a better idea of what you are giving up and what you are getting in return. When you meet with Jerry make sure to bring with you all relevant documents and materials.
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