Can a debt for a credit card be garnished out of your Social Security check?

Although your credit card debt is unsecured debt and the credit card company cannot garnish your Social Security benefits, you may still have options to pay what you owe and keep your credit history from getting any worse than it may already be.
A.

Can creditors go after your Social Security?

There are, however, some limited exceptions to this rule for certain kinds of debts owed to the government, which are explained below. Yes. With the exception of certain federal agencies, creditors cannot garnish or seize Social Security benefits, whether it is retirement, disability, survivor's benefits, or SSI.
  • Is Social Security benefits exempt from garnishment?

    Under the law, social security funds are exempt, or protected, from garnishment and other actions taken by debt collectors. However, if your Social Security funds are not direct deposited into your bank account, or if you transfer the funds into another account after they are received, the protection is not automatic.
  • Can Social Security and pension checks be garnished?

    Your Social Security and pension income is protected from creditorswell, from most creditors. If you owe money to a creditor, it may obtain a court order to garnish your bank account or wages, which basically means that it can take money from these sources to satisfy the debt.
  • Can the IRS take my Social Security check?

    If you owe back taxes to the IRS, 15 percent of your Social Security benefits can be taken each month until the debt is paid in full. The government uses the Federal Payment Levy Program to garnish your payments.
B.

Can the IRS garnish my Social Security disability benefits?

As long as you make and honor an acceptable payment arrangement with the IRS, your Social Security Disability benefits will not be garnished. In some cases, if you can demonstrate an inability to repay a debt to the IRS, you may be exempt from collection even if you owe the Federal government money.
  • Is Social Security disability benefits considered income?

    Benefits such as Social Security Disability Insurance, SSI, or military disability pensions are not considered earned income and cannot be used to claim the EITC. You may qualify for the credit only if you,or your spouse, if filing a joint return, have other earned income.
  • Can a debt for a credit card be garnished out of your Social Security check?

    Although your credit card debt is unsecured debt and the credit card company cannot garnish your Social Security benefits, you may still have options to pay what you owe and keep your credit history from getting any worse than it may already be.
  • Do you have to file a tax return if you are on Social Security?

    Some people must pay taxes on their Social Security benefits. The amount of your income and your filing status affect whether you must pay taxes on your Social Security. If Social Security was your only income in 2012, your benefits are probably not taxable. You also may not need to file a federal income tax return.
C.

Is Social Security benefits exempt from garnishment?

Under the law, social security funds are exempt, or protected, from garnishment and other actions taken by debt collectors. However, if your Social Security funds are not direct deposited into your bank account, or if you transfer the funds into another account after they are received, the protection is not automatic.
  • Are veterans benefits exempt from garnishment?

    The federal benefits that are exempt from garnishment include: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits. Veterans' Benefits. Civil Service and Federal Retirement and Disability Benefits.
  • Can a debt for a credit card be garnished out of your Social Security check?

    Although your credit card debt is unsecured debt and the credit card company cannot garnish your Social Security benefits, you may still have options to pay what you owe and keep your credit history from getting any worse than it may already be.
  • Can a creditor take my Social Security?

    As a general rule, creditors cannot take (“seize”) Social Security benefits, even if they have sued you and obtained a judgment against you in court. There are, however, some limited exceptions to this rule for certain kinds of debts owed to the government, which are explained below.

Updated: 2nd October 2019

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