I am a former DOR Child Support Enforcement Attorney, and have handled hundreds of situations that are similar to the case you have described above. In my 7 years of practicing law in this specific area, I have never witnessed a non-custodial parent - that is receiving public assistance - incarcerated for non-payment of child support. In fact, the DOR will not file contempt actions against non-custodial parents if the non-custodial parent is receiving any type of public assistance.
Further, if the father served the entire 10-day sentence and did not pay the "purge" amount, then the court would be far less likely to sentence him again. But I am not in the business of predicting what the court will do in a case where I only know a very limited amount of information. (I would gather from the information provided that, for whatever reason, the court did not find the father credible).
I would recommend this gentleman retain an attorney to assist with this contempt proceeding, and to try to resolve this child support issue once and for all. Unfortunately, it will not go away.
I wish him luck.
Anthony Rao, Esq.
The above response is NOT legal advice, and is NOT intended to be legal advice. No Attorney-Client relationship is created through the above answer, and any communication between us is not protected by attorney-client privilege.
There is never a clear answer, but most courts will not continuously jail a parent that legitimately cannot pay.
No attorney client relationship is created by virtue of this answer. Further, answers are for information only and should not be relied upon unless there has been a formal consultation. Many cases are fact specific and there is simply no way an attorney could possibly provide complete advice without all the relevant facts.
If you get SSDI forget jail since what your child will receive as his/her dependency allotment should cancel out your child support obligation with minor exception; that being the Court can then recalculate child support by adding the SSDI income with the dependency allotment, then run the guidelines. If the guidelines amount turns out to be less than the dependency allotment your child receives then you will pay nothing in child support in addition. If the guidelines amount is more than the total of your SSDI and the dependency allotment then you will probably have to pay child support in addition to the dependency allotment. So go for the SSDI and forget about jail!