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.

Tip:

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.

Warning:

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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