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If you are retired and owe money to credit card companies can the company attach your social security?

Grand Rapids, MI |

My grandfather is age 70 and is retired. He hasn't been able to pay some his credit card bills. He was wondering if they could attach his social security money/checks.

Attorney Answers 3


Only government creditors are allowed to attach social security benefits. In some rare instances, state courts have been able to take social security money if this income is mixed with money from other sources. So for instance, say I got $1K/month for social security & it is deposited checking account. But I also deposit my gambling winnings of $200 into this account, or deposit the $50 rebate check I got from the power company for insulating my windows into the account. What amount of money in the account is protected & what isn't? That can be a problem known as co-mingling.

In any event, until grandpa is sued, he doesn't have to worry about this issue. I just thought you should know. Hope this perspective helps

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James C. Higgs

James C. Higgs


I would just add, that if there are judgments most garnishments will stop if you get a court to sign an Installment Payment Order. A Motion for Installment Payments by a judgment debtor leaves the court little discretion than to order an affordable installment payment. Many of my clients pay $25 a month on judgments to stop garnishments and keep creditors off their backs.


Under Federal Law Social Security funds can not be attached by credit card companies. Of course if a judgment is entered there may be other assets that are subject to attachment.

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Ms. Bunce is correct that the benefits themselves are exempt from garnishment by general unsecured creditors, but once deposited in a bank account that exemption might be easily lost. Banks do have an obligation under current regulations to immediately investigate the source of funds when an account is frozen pursuant the attachment, and if it is all Social Security the funds must be promptly released. The problem is the possibility of dishonored checks and large banks fees during that process.

Best wishes for a favorable outcome, and please remember to designate a best answer.

This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.

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