Illinois appellate courts continue to hold the line on how to treat Social Security Benefits paid to a dependent child. Continuing a line of caselaw (common-law), a new case, In re the Marriage of Mitter held fast by noting that Social Security benefits are earned (much like other forms of income). Therefore, if a dependent child receives some benefit from a parent’s claim (usually in the form of a dependent allowance), that money is considered having come from the parent.
So the parent receiving benefits can use the dependent allowance as a credit against his or her child support obligation. So, if the non-custodial parent owes $1,000 per month in child support and the child’s benefit is $800 per month, the non-custodial parent only has to pay $200 per month to satisfy the child support obligation.
This case cites to a previous Supreme Court case that noted the same thing, but was limited to giving a credit for the dependent allowance on a specific kind of Social Security benefit. This case appears to expand the same application to any and all benefits that a child receives by the nature of a parent’s receipt of social security benefits.