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If i recieve food stamps and badgercare public assistance can someone file a judgment and garnish my wages?

Baraboo, WI |
Attorney answers 3


Do you receive wages?

In most states, (but not all) wages can be garnished by a creditor holding a judgment.

In many states, the wages have to exceed a certain dollar amount or they cannot be garnished.

The way to find out whether your wages can be garnished is to go to the web site for your state & search state laws for 'exemptions.'

In most states, public assistance benefits are exempt, however, public assistance benefits are not referred to as wages.

Hope this helps!


The following property is exempt (can't be attached) in your State:

Pensions / Retirement Plans: Public employees, unlimited amount [40.08(1)]; qualifying municipal employees, unlimited amount [66.81]; firefighters and police officers who work in cities with 100,000 or more in population, unlimited amount [815.18(3)(e) and (f)]; private and public retirement benefits, amount needed for support [815.18(3)(j)]; military pension, unlimited amount [815.18(3)(n)]

Public Benefits / Entitlements: Workers' compensation, unlimited amt [102.27]; veterans' benefits, unlimited amount [45.35(8)(b)]; aid to families with dependent children and other social service payments, unlimited amt [49.96]; other social services payments; unemployment compensation, unlimited amt [108.13]; crime victims compensation, unlimited amt [949.07]

Wages: 75% of earned but unpaid wages [815.18(3)(h)]

Miscellaneous: Alimony and child support, amount needed for support [815.18(3)(c)]; business partnership property, unlimited amount [178.21]

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Disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted in the States of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts only and make no attempt to opine on matters of law that are not relevant to those three States. This advice is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation. Facts and laws change and these possible changes will affect the advice provided here. Consult an attorney in your locale before you act on any of this advice. You should not rely on this advice alone and nothing in these communications creates an attorney client relationship. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author only and the fact that he has worked as an Assistant District Attorney; State Supreme Court Clerk; Special Assistant United States Attorney (Hawaii); Assistant Cornell University Counsel or Judge Advocate, United States Marine Corps should not be relied upon to assume that these statements reflect the policy of these organizations.


You must have wages to have them garnished. If you do, Wisconsin law appears to not allow garnishments if your wages are below the federal poverty line. If you are about the federal poverty line, then it depends on your income and what you are being garnished for. If that is the case, consult with a local lawyer. You may be able to ask the payroll department at your employer because they are the ones who will be processing it.

[I am a Virginia-licensed attorney. This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship.]

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