My husband has grand mal seizures and I have heart problems since 2009. It took 6 months to get a first check from disability creating a great hardship and many credit cards left that we cannot pay. We do not even have money enough for a bankruptcy! The collectors are relentless in attempting to collect as is to be expected but what can we do? No money leaves us little choice that I have found and I have looked and studied for a very long time. I need to know if they can legally get money from our bank account? The little that we get every month has to go for the mortgage, electricity, doctor bills, etc. Thanks ahead of time for any answers.
I understand your frustrations and concerns. Generally, social security cannot be garnished, but I don't know Washington State law. You should really try to find an attorney in your area that can help you get the collection calls to stop and potentially file bankruptcy for you. If you meet the criteria, you may be able to get free legal help. I did a quick search for you and found the Northwest Justice Project which provides pro-bono services to those who can't afford legal help. Here is the link: http://nwjustice.org/get-legal-help. I would recommend giving them a call or applying online. If they can't help, contact your local county bar association. Maybe they can find someone to provide discounted rates. Good luck and get well.
***I have been designated as a federal debt relief agency by an act of Congress. Among other services, I help people obtain relief from their debts through the Bankruptcy Code.*** Any information provided on this website, is for informational purposes only. Please seek advice of a qualified lawyer in your area for information pertaining to your particular case.
Social security disability income is exempt from execution by federal law. Income from private pensions may be under state law as well. Allowing them to be direct deposited into an account that holds funds from other sources may have the unintended consequence of compromising the exemption. Under fairly new regulations, your bank has special obligations when they believe the funds on deposit are Social Security benefits. One means of obtaining accurate advice at no cost is a consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Often their initial consultation is offered on a no-cost/no-obligation basis even though bankruptcy may not be the right solution for you. If you do not know one, use the attorney-finder at www.nacba.org. I am a longtime proud member of NACBA, and trust my WA colleagues to advise accurately and aggressively protect your interests.
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.
Even though social security and disability funds are exempt from garnishment, it is often difficult to fight debt collection agencies. If your account is garnished, you do have the ability to contest the garnishment based on the exemption, but you will have to act quickly. You can also make the collectors stop calling by sending them a letter telling them you do not have the ability to pay the debt.
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.
Effective May 1, 2011, a new Federal regulation requires 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 new 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.
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