How To Keep Your Social Security Safe From Creditors

Safe and money

 

Get your Social Security deposited into your bank account each month?

If so, you don’t need to worry about a creditor snatching it.

Under federal law, your bank is required to protect those funds from the reach of creditors looking to collect on money judgments.

See: Guidelines For Garnishment of Accounts Containing Federal Benefits

The rules to qualify are simple:

  • Benefits were directly deposited to your account
  • Social Security paid the funds to you
  • Two month’s worth of payments are protected

Under normal circumstances, a creditor with a judgment against you can get an order to have your bank turn over money from your account. Though Social Security is ordinarily off-limits, proving that the money in your account came from the Social Security Administration has long been a tough chore.

In the past, you could have your money frozen for weeks, or longer, while you sought to trace Social Security into the levied account.

The bank must give you access to the two months worth of payments, though you may be able to claim a larger exemption by using your state laws.

At the very least, you have money to eat and buy gas while you sort out things.

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Author:Cathy Moran

Cathy is a lawyer in Northern California, where she's run her own small firm for over 30 years. A certified consumer bankruptcy specialist, Cathy pioneered the use of the Internet as a means of educating people about their debt relief options. Her clients have educated her about money.

One Response to “How To Keep Your Social Security Safe From Creditors”

  1. November 13, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    I wonder if the law applies to a bank or credit union that is claiming a setoff. Could make for an interesting lawsuit. What do you think?

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