Can a debt collector garnish my federal benefits?

In most cases, debt collectors can't garnish federal benefits to repay your debts.

Federal benefits include:

  • Social Security benefits
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits
  • Veteran’s benefits
  • Civil service and federal retirement and disability benefits
  • Servicemember pay
  • Military annuities and survivor benefits
  • Federal student aid
  • Railroad retirement benefits

Your bank account balance has some protections if these types of payments are directly deposited to your bank account.


Even if your account only contains federal benefits that can't be garnished, you should respond to any action seeking a garnishment to make sure your benefits are protected.


These benefits may be garnished if your debt is for federal taxes or you have defaulted on a federal student loan.

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