November 22, 2014

Can a Judgment Creditor Garnish the Checking Account Where My Social Security Direct Deposit Goes?

heresone you probably have not had: I have a checking account just for my social security disablity checks for me and my two little ones for direct deposit i was recently had a judgment placed on me from a credit card company and they say that they can attach my checking account even if that is all that goes into that account what do you suggest i do i can not live with out this income?

–Christine

Jonathan Ginsberg replies: Christine, unfortunately, I have heard of this type of situation. The law is very clear: except in very limited situations (child support debt, some tax debts) a judgment creditor cannot seize your Social Security money.

You should do two things immediately. First, contact your branch manager and express your extreme displeasure that the bank honored a garnishment against your Social Security account when they clearly know that these accounts are excempt from garnishment.

Second, you should write a strongly worded letter to the judgment creditor and their lawyer advising them that they need to return your funds within five (5) days or else you will pursue all civil and criminal remedies against them.

If you can find a lawyer in your area who handles Fair Debt Collection Procedures Act cases, I would call him/her.

You may also want to call your local Social Security office and/or your elected representative for some assistance.

Please let me know what happens.

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Jonathan Ginsberg represents Social Security disability claimants in Georgia. In practice for over 23 years, Jonathan publishes a widely known disability blog, a podcast and several disability web sites. In 2004, Jonathan published a "how to" book about Social Security disability called the Disability Answer Guide. Jonathan lives with his wife and 2 children in Atlanta.