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Can a creditor take our social security checks and/or my pension?

Bradenton, FL |

We live in Florida and are over 65 and retired.

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Attorney answers 4


A creditor cannot take your Social Security checks. Now that most are direct deposited into bank accounts they are protected there as well, up to six months of the total deposits. Your pension checks cannot be taken prior to being placed in a bank account, and in most situations after that as well.

If a creditor is threatening to do this I would contact a consumer law attorney who handles these matters. I would also review this article our firm wrote regarding debt collectors and your rights, Also, check out this article about collectors needing to be licensed in the state and the link to the Avvo legal guide to check and see if the collector is licensed in the state,

Information on Avvo should not be construed as legal advice. The response above is only for informational purposes and should not be construed as creating an attorney/client relationship. If you have further questions or would like to schedule a free consultation call 813-367-5128 or email us at


I agree with Mr. Packer. You social security checks and pension plan should be safe from creditor collection.


I agree with Mr. Packer also. The social security and pension checks are exempt from judgment in Florida. I have seen, however, in my practice where clients have their bank account garnished. Generally, the funds in your bank account that are derived from and traceable to exempt sources, such as social security and pension checks, are also exempt.

Debt collectors often violate both state and federal law collecting money that is exempt and take advantage or consumers who are not familiar with their rights. If the judgment creditor/debt collector files a garnishment and/or threatens to take these exempt funds I suggest you consult a local consumer attorney who has experience with both the Florida and Federal Debt Collection Practices Acts.

Please do not consider this legal advice. The information is only a useful gauge for future consideration or activity on your part. By my definition, legal advice can only be had through a thorough in-person consultation with me, which would involve a detailed question and answer session.


Most creditors cannot, but Social Security benefits are subject to garnishment/withholding if the debt is a support order (child support, maintenance/alimony) or a Federal debt like federal taxes or student loan default.

As for your pension, yes those funds would be subject to garnishment by a creditor.

Please note that this is a general answer to a general question and does not constitute any attorney-client relationship. Please seek out an attorney in your area to discuss your matter.

Erin Michelle Schmidt

Erin Michelle Schmidt


Sorry I mistyped that. Pension is not subject to garnishment, but 401(k) distributions are.

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