Can a debt collection agency have your social security benefits garnished for defaulting on an unsecured credit card?
Medford, OR |
My 87 year old friend is being harrassed by a debt collector who claims he is also a lawyer, and has threatened to take her to Civil courtand have her SSI benefits garnished for defaulting on her CITI BANK credit card. He harrasses her daily.
No, absolutely not. Social Security benefits may not be garnished to satisfy a civil judgment by this type of debt collector. Further, it very well may be a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) for the debt collector to threaten garnishment when the law clearly provides otherwise.
I think it would be wise to put the collection agent on notice that your friend will not be bullied. Here is a sample letter that your friend can use to assert his rights under the FDCPA: http://cli.gs/nocollect.
One final thought: your friend's Social Security check cannot be garnished, nor can that money be touched even after it is deposited into a bank account. However, other assets, including money from other sources in a bank account remain subject to seizure by a judgment creditor. It is always a good idea to segregate Social Security money from other funds or assets.