Federal Law on VA Disability and Child Support: A Guide

Are veterans mandated to use their VA disability compensation for child support payments? In this article, we’ll explore federal law surrounding disability benefits and child support. It’ll give veterans paying child support a better idea of how to navigate this issue and can also give former spouses an idea of how to collect child support from their former spouses. 

5 VA Benefits for Disabled Veterans

disabled veterans

Serving in the Armed Forces has plenty of benefits, and those in good standing in the military get to enjoy them. Disabled veterans can expect various VA disability benefits, including the following:

  1. Medical Care: The VA works with TRICARE to provide services to service members, including disabled veterans. 
  2. Disability Compensation: Qualified veterans receive tax-free disability pay. The amount they receive depends on the severity of their disability, and additional payments are available if that person has dependents.
  3. Home and Car Adaptation: Veterans with specific service-connected disabilities may qualify for financial help to adapt their care or homes to meet their disability requirements. They may also be eligible for home improvement and structural alteration grants.
  4. Home Loan Guarantees: This benefit gives beneficiaries competitive rates on home loans with little or no down payment.
  5. Education: Disabled veterans can pursue further education, but the VA will shoulder the costs.

Does VA Disability Count as Income when Calculating Child Support?

Yes, the VA considers a disabled veteran’s VA disability compensation when computing how much they have to pay for child support obligations. The court can recognize disability compensation as income. However, disability benefits cannot be garnished for child support payments. 

The parent with physical custody can claim a disability payment portion as child support from the parent who has visitation.

How is Apportionment Different from Garnishment?

Army soldier with a child

When a disabled veteran is obligated to pay child support, they might come across terms like apportionment and garnishments. Although they work the same way, garnishment is a process of the state court, while apportionment is an administrative process that happens only within Veterans Affairs. The VA makes apportionment decisions by trying to balance the veteran’s basic needs with the child’s needs.

Child support can usually be garnished from federal income or benefits like federal income tax returns and social security retirement. However, garnishment is usually not allowed from VA compensation and VA pensions. This doesn’t mean that a veteran receiving these benefits isn’t required to pay child support.

How does Apportionment Work as Child Support ?

Apportionment is not automatic for child support payment. The parent asking for child support must apply for apportionment by completing VA Form 21-0788 and submitting it to the address listed.

The VA considers these factors when contemplating apportionment for child support:

  • Is the child support claim so miniscule that it isn’t worth apportioning?
  • Has the child in question been legally adopted by another person?
  • Is the child at least 18 years old, or has the child entered active military service?

The veteran can refuse the apportionment, but agreeing to it can help make sure that child support is paid. The Department of Veterans Affairs will not give permission to an apportionment if it prompts the veteran to undue hardship.

How can Veterans Avoid Enforcement Lawsuits?

Veterans who receive VA disability payments but have challenges paying child support should consult experienced lawyers who know veterans’ benefits. These experts can help veterans manage tricky situations where they can’t pay the total amount ordered by the court. 

Disabled veterans can also seek legal counsel from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA has plenty of resources to help manage child support issues. 


It can be challenging to pay child support when disabled, and disabled veterans should understand their child support obligations to avoid complications. Fortunately, disability benefits and other resources can help them meet their obligations. 

However, active-duty service members must abide by different rules. The key is to determine one’s active duty status. The SCRACVS can help interested individuals determine if a person is on active duty. Click here to sign up at SCRACVS and verify an individual’s active duty status.


Can Child Support Be Taken From Disability in VA?

Yes, child support payment can be taken from one’s disability compensation. This is called apportionment. 

Can I Get Child Support if the Father Is on VA Disability in Texas?

Yes, the court can consider the VA compensation benefits as one’s income when contemplating the amount of child support owed.

Does VA Disability Count as Income for Child Support in PA?

Yes. Unless state law disagrees, a court has the right to include the money you receive from the VA as income when it decides the child support amount.

Can VA Disability Be Garnished for Child Support in NC?

In NC, only the amount of VA disability compensation paid and not military retired pay can be garnished to satisfy alimony obligations.

What Regulation Covers VA Disability?

38 CFR covers all of the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

Are Disabled Veterans Protected Under the ADA?

Veterans who meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) definition of disability are protected under the ADA.

What is the Five-Year Rule for VA Disability?

This rule protects your disability claim by preventing the VA from reducing your disability rating unless your condition significantly improves over time.

What is the 70-40 Rule for VA Disability?

This rule means that a veteran has at least two service-connected conditions with a combined rating of at least 70 percent, with at least one of these conditions rated 40 percent or higher.

Are VA Benefits Protected From Garnishment?

VA disability benefits are often vital for Veterans to pay for daily needs, maintain a certain standard of comfort, and pay for medical expenses. Disability benefits are typically protected from wage garnishment.

Attorney Roy Kaufmann serves as the Director of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service, located in Washington, D.C. As a recognized authority on the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Mr. Kaufmann has published hundreds of articles and hosted many webinars. His teachings help law firms and businesses to remain compliant with the SCRA rules and regulations so as to avoid costly fines.