When it comes to Social Security payments, there are some creditors that can garnish your payment and there are some that can’t. We will look at these different groups and provide an explanation of each below:
Those that can garnish Social Security
Government, or in the USA, federal government, can garnish your benefits for repayment of several types of debts, including tax, student loans (US Only), child support and alimony, debt owed to other government agencies and certain civil penalties. Supplemental Security Income, such as disability payments cannot be garnished under any circumstance.
The level of any garnishment on your Social Security depends ultimately on the type of debt you owe and where you live. Tax debt for instance, in the USA is capped at repayment of 15% of your Social Security, whereas student loan recovery has no such cap.
So really, it is only government that can ever issue a case to garnish your social security payments, unless requested via court order, which we will look at below.
Those that can’t normally garnish Social Security
Banks and other financial creditors cannot touch your Social Security, in normal cases. The only way any such condition could be overturned is through a small claims decision. In the UK for example, if you are taken to a small claims court and the lender wins, it is possible that repayment would require a garnishment of your Social Security payment. This is however, unlikely and could not be offset against any form of social security other than your standard payment.
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