Skip to main content

Can nc dept of revenue garnish my social security benefits or my bank account for unpaid taxes that belong to my fiance?

Mebane, NC |

He's on the account, but hasn't worked since Nov 2011. The money there is solely mine from SSI and Disability

+ Read More

Attorney answers 3


You need to open a separate account in your name only and put only your SSI and SSD money in there, and you need to do this as soon as possible. You may very well lose protection by co-mingling monies or account owners.

If a creditor other than the federal government tries to garnish your Social Security benefits, inform them that such an action violates Section 207 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 407).

NOTE: SSI payments are not subject to garnishment.

Section 207 bars garnishment of your benefits. It can also be used as a defense if your benefits are incorrectly garnished. SSA has responsibility for protecting benefits against garnishment, assignments and other legal processes usually ends when the beneficiary is paid. However, once paid, benefits continue to be protected under section 207 of Act as long as they are identifiable as Social Security benefits.

However, the creditor may go after your bank account or other assets. You may lose the federal Social Security protection if you co-mingle your SSA money with other monies. Check with an attorney in your state.

Federal regulations require that banks which receive a garnishment order for an account into which Social Security, VA, Railroad Retirement, or Federal pensions have been deposited, must look more closely before honoring the garnishment order. The bank has to figure out the sum of such Federal benefit payments that have been deposited to the account during a two month period, and must ensure that the account holder has access to an amount equal to that sum or to the current balance of the account, whichever is lower.

Under this regulation, you do not forfeit your protection from garnishment by mingling your Federal checks with other money -- but there are limits on the amount of money in your account that's protected from garnishment. Only 2 months worth of benefits are protected. Additionally, don't transfer benefits to another account or else the protection is void.

Disclaimer Information on this site is provided by Brian Scott Wayson as general information, not legal advice, and use of this information does not establish an attorney-client relationship. If you have questions about your specific situation, please call an attorney.


Not quite. Proceeds from Social Security are protected. If they are commingled, they do not lose protection, but it may be harder to do so. If there is a joint account holder, the money does not lose protection just because of that joint account holder.

Be safe and put it in a separate account. Put nothing else in it but your Social Security. You are not responsible for her taxes.

Mr. Goldstein is a Virginia-licensed attorney only. The information is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation. Answering this question does not in any way constitute legal representation. Contacting Mitchell Goldstein or the Goldstein Law Group does not constitute legal representation, nor is any information you provide protected by attorney-client privilege until otherwise advised.


I agree with both of the previous answers about putting your funds in a separate account to which your fiancee does not have access. By putting your money into a joint account you risk having that money seized by NC and of then having to go through the process of convincing them that the money was really yours and was in fact money protected from seizure under federal or state law (some states have provisions exempting certain funds from levy or seizure that are more generous than the federal exemptions). That would certainly cost you time and aggravation, and also money - possibly significant money - if you have to hire someone to help you.

The reason you run this risk is that, as a general matter, money in a joint bank account is presumed to belong to both people on the account, with the result that the money can be seized to satisfy the debts of one of the owners, even if the other person was the one who funded the account.

Bankruptcy and debt topics

Recommended articles about Bankruptcy and debt

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer