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Workers’ Compensation Settlements and Child Support

by | Nov 24, 2016 | Firm News, Workers' Compensation

When an agreement is reached between an injured worker and the employer/carrier to settle a Florida workers’ compensation claim, formal documents will have to be submitted to the judge setting forth the amount of the settlement, the attorney’s fees, and any child support owed by the injured worker. The documents must be submitted in order for the Judge to enter an order before any of the settlement funds will be disbursed to the injured worker. The requirements of the formal documents are set forth in the 60Q-6 Rules of Procedure for Workers’ Compensation Adjudication. When the injured worker has an attorney, the judge will not look at the facts of the case in relation to the amount of the settlement; He or she is only approving is the amount of the attorney’s fee and the amount of child support owed to be paid to the State Child Support Disbursement Unit, if any.  This does not apply to settlements of an unrepresented injured worker.

Florida Workers' Compensation Settlements and Child Support

The child support recovered through settlement of Florida workers’ compensation cases has exceeded 150 million over the last 14 fiscal years.

While this program serves an important public policy, the provisions can catch many injured workers off guard when settling their case.

How Child Support Arrears are Ascertained

An attorney representing an injured worker (or attorney representing the employer/carrier) can submit a Child Support Request on a case through the Judge’s office. The Judge’s office then returns a report detailing any amount owed to either the Department of Revenue or a Florida County Clerk’s office. The amount listed on the form is then used to calculate the child support that will be paid from the settlement.

How Much of a Settlement can be Paid to Child Support?

Typically, 50% of the claimant’s net recovery can be withheld from the settlement and sent directly to the appropriate agency by either the injured worker’s attorney or the attorney for the employer/carrier.

For example, if a case settles for $50,000 and the attorney’s fees and costs deducted are $10,000, up to $20,000 can be taken from the injured worker’s settlement to pay the child support arrears[assuming the claimant is in arrears for more than $20,000]. If the claimant is arrears for less than 20,000 or less than 50% of the net, the actual amount owed will be paid to the appropriate agency.

What if Child Support is Owed in Another State?

At the time of the settlement, a claimant must sign an affidavit stating he/she does not owe any support other than what is disclosed on the Report generated by the OJCC showing support owed in Florida.

Our Tampa workers’ compensation attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of Florida’s injured workers. If you have questions about any workers’ compensation matter, contact our office for a free consultation.