Considering how important Social Security Disability benefits are to recipients, the idea of having such benefits garnished can be pretty alarming. You are getting your benefits because you cannot work. What are you supposed to do if they are garnished? Fortunately, there are very few situations where your Social Security Disability benefits can be garnished. In most cases, including bankruptcy, your benefits are generally protected from garnishment.
The Social Security website has a page devoted to this subject, where it posts the relevant sections of law that pertain to garnishment of benefits. The two main areas where garnishment still may be possible are for unpaid taxes and child support. It may also be possible for the federal government to garnish your benefits for the repayment of student loans that were guaranteed by the federal government.
In Most Cases, Your Benefits Are Protected
It is well understood that Social Security Disability payments are a vital necessity to those that receive them. Because of this, the laws surrounding disability payments are fairly strict in their protections of such payments. As stated in SSR 79-4, “Generally, Social Security benefits are exempt from execution, levy, attachment, garnishment, or other legal process, or from the operation of any bankruptcy or insolvency law.”
The fact that Social Security Disability benefits are protected from bankruptcy is evidence of their importance. Even when everything goes wrong and you find yourself in a very tough financial position, you can still rely on your benefits.
Instances Where Your Benefits May Not Protected
It is worthwhile to review the instances where your benefits may not be protected. If you find yourself in any situation where you fear your benefits might be garnished, even if the garnishment falls under the following categories, you should contact a Social Security Disability lawyer immediately. An attorney may be able to help you protect your benefits.
Because the federal government is both the collector of taxes and the distributor of Social Security benefits, it is capable of garnishing benefits for back taxes in some circumstances. While it is always important to stay up to date with your tax payments, sometimes life gets in the way. If you suspect you will not be able to pay and are worried about your benefits, it is advisable to contact the IRS and see if you can work out a payment plan. With a payment plan you may be able to avoid garnishment.
Default Student Loan Payments
Loans guaranteed by the federal government for schooling are another special area where garnishment can occur. If the federal government determines that you are not going to pay your loans back, it may be capable of taking your benefits to meet this obligation. If you are behind on your loans and worried about garnishment, contacting your lender is advisable. You may be able to work out an arrangement that satisfies the lender and avoids garnishment.
Child Support Payments
If the federal government determines that you owe back child support payments or are unlikely to pay upcoming child support payments, it may garnish your benefits. If you are having trouble making your payments and are worried about garnishment, you should contact an attorney immediately. Failing to make child support payments can have long-term consequences, including the garnishment of your benefits.
There are instances where Social Security Disability benefits are garnished illegally from bank accounts. If you find that your benefits have been illegally garnished, you should contact your Social Security Disability lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney can contest the garnishment with the court.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you are in a situation where you are worried about having your Social Security Disability benefits garnished, your first step should be to contact an attorney experienced in this area. We can help clients from all walks of life through the complicated process of Social Security Disability. Please contact me now to discuss your situation and get informed advice on how to address your issues. I offer a free initial consultation, so you have the opportunity to speak to a knowledgeable attorney at no cost to you.