I live solely on my social security benefits. I cannot continue making my credit card minimum payments.
3 attorney answers
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.
Your bank may be required to automatically protect some of your Federal benefits if they are direct deposited into your bank account and you may be able to stop your creditors from taking other exempt funds from your bank account.
However, there are some exceptions. For example, your Veteran’s benefits, Social Security, or other government benefits may be garnished to pay delinquent child support or federal taxes.
Student loans, specifically federally backed student loans, can garnish your wages to collect a past due student loan. These days, student loans are handled almost exclusively through the federal government. That means that if you have a past due student loan, the government most likely will garnish your wages to repay the student loan debt. The government or its agents may also levy on your bank account and take your money in your account in repayment of your student loans.
Please note if you are on Social Security disability benefits and your disability is expected to last 60 or more months you may be bale to get your student loans discharged - contact your lends for the forms which will need to be signed by a doctor.
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.
Mr. Wayson's comments are good. If you are sued by the credit card companies and they get a judgment against you. you have the right under NC law to protect certain personal property from execution, which is the process by which the sheriff seizes property and sells it to satisfy the judgment. If you are served with a copy of a judgment, you will need to fill out form AOC-CV-415, file it with the clerk, and serve a copy on the attorney for the judgment creditor. Depending on the value of your car, it may prevent the Sheriff from seizing it - you can protect net value of $3500 in one vehicle. You may also want to consider filing bankruptcy, which may allow you to discharge the credit card debts. However, the student loans are not dischargeable - you will still have to pay them. You may want to consult with a bankruptcy attorney, as well as an attorney that handles social security cases.
The attorney responding is licensed only in the state of North Carolina. This response does NOT constitute legal advice and does NOT create an attorney/ client relationship! Rather, the response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter in question. Although a response is provided to the specific question, there may be other facts and law relevant to the issue that the questioner has left out and which would make the reply unsuitable. Therefore, the questioner should not base any decision on the answer, but should confer with an attorney in person about the specifics of his or her case.
Overall, I agree with Mr. Wayson's response--except that VA service connected disability benefits are also immune from garnishment for child support. Unlike SS benefits, if the VA is also paying a dependents' benefit, it will be included in the veterans' benefit unless the custodial parent/guardian files a written request (using a form, of course) to have the dependent's benefit severed & paid separately to the child/dependent(s). The veteran has so many days to file an objection or disagreement.
If you are unable to continue making your credit card and/or student loan payments you might want to try finding a legitimate credit counseling agency to see if it can help you negotiate a plan w/lower payments. You may also wish to consult a bankruptcy attorney to see if that is a potential solution to your debt problems. It is also possible--even though it's unusual--to have your student loans discharged (may not be the correct term) because of disability.
The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Oregon. Responses are based solely on Oregon law unless stated otherwise.