Are child support payments “unearned income” attributed to the child or to the parent? In other words, is child support considered unearned income in SSI cases?

According to Social Security POMS Section SI 00830.420 (Child Support Payments), child support payments (including arrearage payments) made on behalf of an SSI child (as defined in SI 00501.010) are unearned income to the child.

One-third of the amount of a child support payment made to or for an eligible child by an absent parent is excluded. This exclusion does not apply when determining the income of ineligible children in a deeming computation (SI 01310.110D.).

NOTE: Current child support payments and arrearages received by a parent on behalf of a deceased SSI child are income to the parent who receives them.