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Benefits Not Transferable

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

129. Benefits Not Transferable

129.1 Can you transfer future Social Security benefits?

No, you cannot transfer your future Social Security benefits and SSI payments to someone else.

129.2 Can your Social Security benefits be levied or garnished?

If you have any unpaid Federal taxes, the Internal Revenue Service can levy your Social Security benefits. Your benefits can also be garnished in order to collect unpaid child support and or alimony. SSI payments cannot be levied or garnished. Treasury's Financial Management Service can also offset, or reduce, your Social Security benefits to collect delinquent debts owed to other Federal agencies, such as student loans owed to the Department of Education.

129.3 Can you voluntarily withhold money to meet your tax liability (voluntary tax withholding)?

You may ask to have a percentage of your monthly payment amount withheld and paid each month to the Internal Revenue Service to help meet your Federal income tax liability.

129.4 What types of payments are not subject to voluntary tax withholding?

The following types of payments are not subject to voluntary tax withholding:

  1. SSI payments;

  2. Black Lung payments;

  3. Medicare premium refunds;

  4. Lump-sum Death Payments; and

  5. Returned check re-issuances.

Last Revised: Jun. 30, 2004

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There are 2 Comments

I applied for and have been receiving social security benefits as a married person. However, two months ago, I became divorced. Will that change the dollar amount I receive? Do I need to alert Social Security of the divorce?

If you get married or divorced, your Social Security benefits may be affected, depending on the kind of benefits you receive.

If you get your OWN retirement benefits then your benefits will continue.

If you get spouse's benefits then your benefits will continue if you get divorced and you are age 62 or older unless you were married less than 10 years.

You may want to contact the SSA directly for your particular case.

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