- Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
- Area(s) of Law: Family Law
- Date Filed: 05-19-2021
- Case #: A168375
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Powers, J. for the Court; Lagesen, P.J., & DeVore, J.
- Full Text Opinion
On appeal, Wife challenged the trial court’s division of marital assets. Wife argued that a lump-sum social security disability (SSD) payment to Husband should be considered a marital asset and that the trial court erred when it did not subject the SSD lump sum to equitable distribution. Wife had reached her argument by interpreting Section 407(a) of the Social Security Act (SSA) as only applying to future payments. Husband responded that the SSA prohibits such distribution, whether the benefit is paid or is a future benefit. “Social Security benefits are not marital property and are not subject to outright division in dissolution actions,” because, “federal law preempts any state law that authorizes the assignment or transfer” of those benefits. Herald and Steadman, 355 Or 104, 112, 322 P3d 546 (2014), cert den, 574 US 1073 (2015). After undertaking statutory interpretation of Section 407(a) of the SSA, the Court determined that the statute prohibited distribution of both paid and future benefits, and therefore that the lump sum that was a paid benefit to husband was unreachable through a state marital dissolution process. Affirmed.