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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: February 10, 2015 01:21 PM
From: Representative Michael K. Hanna
To: All House members
Subject: Excluding certain benefits when determining child or spousal support needs
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that would amend the state’s child and spousal support guidelines to exempt certain benefits from consideration when determining the needs of the child or spouse seeking support.

Under current Pennsylvania law, child and spousal support is awarded pursuant to a statewide guideline based on the reasonable needs of the child or spouse seeking support, and the ability of the obligor to provide such support. The guideline places primary emphasis on the net incomes and earning capacities of the parties.

For the purposes of determining need or support, my proposal would mandate that any public assistance or supplemental social security income (SSI) or social security benefits received by a child as a result of a parents death, would not be counted as income. Additionally, when determining the support obligation of a surviving parent, the income of a nonparent obligee who is caring for the child but has no support obligation, would not be considered. If a child is receiving social security benefits as a result of the death, retirement or disability of anyone other than the obligor, the obligor would not receive a credit for those benefits against their child support obligation.

It was recently brought to my attention that a defect in current law has allowed the surviving non-custodial biological parent to benefit from the other parent’s death. If the non-custodial parent owed child support prior to the custodial parent’s death, the death of the custodial parent should not be an excuse to no longer provide support.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this very important legislation. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

If you have any questions, please contact Lynette Perkins via e-mail at LMPerkins@pahouse.net or via phone at 717-772-2283.

Introduced as HB669