Garnishment of Benefits

Background

Under current law, Social Security benefits cannot be garnished to repay private debts, either secured or unsecured. Secured debts include loans like private mortgages. Unsecured debts include money owed to credit card companies. However, it is permissible for the federal government to reduce Social Security benefits to repay any federal debt The amount of money owed by the government, which is the accumulation of all prior annual deficits. . This includes outstanding student loans and Federal Housing Administration loans. It also applies to overpayments for government assistance or tax debts. Garnishment of Social Security benefits is also permissible to collect child support, alimony, and victim restitution. Up to $9,000 annually in benefits is protected from all forms of garnishment.

Social Security benefits are fundamental to the financial security of millions of individuals. Their reduction could lead to impoverishment.

GARNISHMENT OF SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS: Policy

GARNISHMENT OF SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS: Policy

Garnishment

Social Security benefits should not be garnished, levied, or offset to collect any public or private debts, with limited exceptions for child support, alimony, and victim restitution funds.