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Can a judgement creditor garnish my unemployment benefits and take my car?

North Platte, NE |

I have been unemployed for nine months and during this time I have been sued by a collection agency for delinquent medical bills. Since I have no employer for them to garnish wages from, I found out the hard way that my bank account was frozen while I was trying to check out at the grocery store. My debit card was denied ~ they took my last $24.00. I called my bank first thing this morning and they said there was a levy on my account and it had been frozen. I was NOT notified in the mail before hand. They gave me a name and phone number and that's all they would tell me. My only source of income is unemployment, after researching, I found out that it is exempt. I called the creditors, but they said they were taking the money anyway. What do I do now? Will they take my car next?

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Best answer

    In some places you have to be agressive about claiming your exemptions than other places. Although your bank should have been supporting you with this, other than finding a new bank, get over to the courthouse & ask for the paperwork to complete to file your claim for exemptions of your account.

    As you no doubt know by now, exemptions are the laws that say what assets you own can be protected from creditors. Every state provides some protection for one vehicle, but the amount of protection varies widely from state to state. So you will want to review state laws to determine if your vehicle is at risk.

    Instead of just calling the creditors, send them your paperwork on the exemption. They can ignore your phone call, they can't ignore the court paperwork.

    Hope this perspective helps!

  2. For $24.00 it is hard to justify an attorney, but the bank should not release the funds to them if you can prove the source is exempt funds.

    Disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted in the States of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts only and make no attempt to opine on matters of law that are not relevant to those three States. This advice is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation. Facts and laws change and these possible changes will affect the advice provided here. Consult an attorney in your locale before you act on any of this advice. You should not rely on this advice alone and nothing in these communications creates an attorney client relationship.

  3. You need to deal with the bank, The creditor attorney is not going to give the funds back unless you can show that not doing so is a violation of the FDCPA the federal debt collection practice act which would entitle you to a judgment against them. The bank however, can get the money back from them by requesting it. Simply provide evidence to the bank this was unemployment money.

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