Federal wage garnishment laws explained for consumers, creditors and collectors.
If you believe your wages are being garnished illegally, or you believe you are a victim of illegal or unfair debt collection practices, submit your information to a FREE* Fair Debt Lawyer by:
- Clicking here for a FREE* Fair Debt Case Review;
- Calling toll free 888-FDCPA-LAW (888-332-7252);
- Clicking here to locate a FREE* Fair Debt Lawyer.
The debt collector may just be liable to you for statutory damages of up to $1,000, plus any actual damages suffered, plus attorney fees!
Wage garnishment laws include attaching wages, bank accounts and student loans in default. The law does not describe how to stop wage garnishment! The best way to prevent wage garnishment actions is to be pro-active when dealing with creditors and debt collectors.
Federal and state garnishment laws can be used to stop, start and avoid wage garnishment actions by consumers, creditors and collectors. Wage garnishment (except student loans) is only possible after creditors and collectors obtain a court ordered judgment for such action. The garnishment action, otherwise known as “administrative wage garnishment” can be up to 25 percent of your disposable income.
Wage Garnishment rules taken directly from federal law; Title 15, Chapter 41, Subchapter II.
- Restriction on garnishments – Section 1673
- Restriction on discharge from employment – Section 1674
- Exemption for State-regulated garnishments – Section 1675
- Enforcement by Secretary of Labor – Section 1676
- Effect on State laws – Section 1677
- Garnishment of Social Security and Disability Benefits
Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section and in section 1675 of this title, the maximum part of the aggregate disposable earnings of an individual for any work week which is subjected to garnishment may not exceed
(1) 25 per cent of disposable earnings for that week, or
(2) the amount by which disposable earnings for that week exceed thirty times the Federal minimum hourly wage prescribed by section 206(a)(1) of title 29 in effect at the time the earnings are payable, whichever is less.
In the case of earnings for any pay period other than a week, the Secretary of Labor shall by regulation prescribe a multiple of the Federal minimum hourly wage equivalent in effect to that set forth in paragraph (2).
(1) The restrictions of subsection (a) of this section do not apply in the case of
(A) any order for the support of any person issued by a court of competent jurisdiction or in accordance with an administrative procedure, which is established by State law, which affords substantial due process, and which is subject to judicial review.
(B) any order of any court of the United States having jurisdiction over cases under chapter 13 of title 11.
(C) any debt due for any State or Federal tax.
(A) where such individual is supporting his spouse or dependent child (other than a spouse or child with respect to whose support such order is used), 50 per cent of such individual’s disposable earnings for that week; and
(B) where such individual is not supporting such a spouse or dependent child described in clause (A), 60 per cent of such individual’s disposable earnings for that week; except that, with respect to the disposable earnings of any individual for any workweek, the 50 per cent specified in clause (A) shall be deemed to be 55 per cent and the 60 per cent specified in clause (B) shall be deemed to be 65 per cent, if and to the extent that such earnings are subject to garnishment to enforce a support order with respect to a period which is prior to the twelve-week period which ends with the beginning of such workweek.
(c) Execution or enforcement of garnishment order or process prohibited
No court of the United States or any State, and no State (or officer or agency thereof), may make, execute, or enforce any order or process in violation of this section
(a) Termination of employment :
No employer may discharge any employee by reason of the fact that his earnings have been subjected to garnishment for any one indebtedness.
(b) Penalties :
Whoever willfully violates subsection (a) of this section shall be fined not more than $1,000, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both
The Secretary of Labor may by regulation exempt from the provisions of section 1673(a) and (b)(2) of this title garnishments issued under the laws of any State if he determines that the laws of that State provide restrictions on garnishment which are substantially similar to those provided in section 1673(a) and (b)(2) of this title
The Secretary of Labor, acting through the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor, shall enforce the provisions of this subchapter
This subchapter does not annul, alter, or affect, or exempt any person from complying with, the laws of any State
(1) prohibiting garnishments or providing for more limited garnishment than are allowed under this subchapter, or
(2) prohibiting the discharge of any employee by reason of the fact that his earnings have been subjected to garnishment for more than one indebtedness
Social Security and Garnishment:
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 exceptions are that benefits are subject:
(1) to the authority of the Secretary of the Treasury to make levies for the collection of delinquent Federal taxes and under certain circumstances delinquent child support payments; and
(2) to garnishment or similar legal process brought by an individual to enforce a child support or alimony obligation.
Section 207 of the Social Security Act provides: “The right of any person to any future payment under this title shall not be transferable or assignable, at law or in equity, and none of the moneys paid or payable or rights existing under this title shall be subject to execution, levy, attachment, garnishment, or other legal process, or to the operation of any bankruptcy or insolvency law.”
However, section 6331 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (26 U.S.C. 6331) which was enacted into law on August 16, 1954, after the enactment of section 207, gives the Secretary of the Treasury the right to levy or seize for collection of delinquent Federal taxes, property, rights to property, whether real or personal, tangible, or intangible and the right to make successive levies and seizures until the amount due, together with all expenses, is fully paid. References: SSR 79-4: SECTIONS 207, 452(b), 459 and 462(f) (42 U.S.C. 407, 652(b), 659 and 662(f)) LEVY AND GARNISHMENT OF BENEFITS 20 CFR 404.970 SSR 79-4 See the code here