The subject of Social Security Disability or SSI and garnishment
Whenever the subject of Social Security Disability or SSI disability benefits and garnishment comes up, I typically tell someone "No, commercial debt collectors have no basis on which to garnish your disability benefits. The only time your disability benefit can be touched is when the issue regards arrears in child support or a debt owed to the federal government, such as income tax or student loans".
Here is the portion of the social security act that substantiates the government's position on this, from section 207 of the social security act:
"...none of the moneys paid or payable or rights existing under this title shall be subject to execution, levy, attachment, garnishment, or other legal process, or to the operation of any bankruptcy or insolvency law."
If you are receiving Social Security Disability, there are other reasons your disability benefits may be reduced. Social Security allows SSDI benefits to be garnished for child support (both present and arrears), a valid court order of victim restitution, alimony, money owed to the IRS, and other unpaid government loans or debts. However, Social Security does not allow creditors to garnish your Social Security Disability benefits.
1. Can my disability benefits be garnished for unpaid fines?
2. If I owe property tax, can my city or county government garnish my Social Security retirement check?
3. If I owe taxes, can the Federal government garnish my Social Security retirement check?
About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.
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