Generally, unemployment benefits are exempt from garnishment. Like everything else, there are exceptions. Orders for garnishment may be granted for priority debts like child support or taxes, for example.
Protect The Status Of Your Unemployment Benefits
If you believe someone may be attempting to garnish your wages, you should speak with an attorney. If you’re looking to take action immediately, in addition to speaking with a bankruptcy lawyer consider where you are depositing your unemployment benefits.
If you’re depositing unemployment benefits into a joint account—an account with your name and another individual’s name on it—you may have trouble clearly identifying your unemployment benefits when someone attempts to garnish them. Additionally, if other funds are being deposited into that account, those additional funds, because the account is in your name, may also be subject to garnishment.
The simplest way to insure your unemployment benefits retain their protection from garnishment is to have them deposited into an account in your name only, and to not mix other funds in with that account. If those funds are somehow garnished, you’ll stand a much better chance at recovering them by arguing they were protected and identifiable as unemployment benefits.
How Will I Know If My Funds Are Being Garnished?
A creditor has to go through the court system to garnish your funds. You will receive notice of this process if it is happening. It’s important to act quickly and speak with an attorney if you receive a notice from the court with a hearing date regarding the garnishment of funds. The hearing is your chance to defend against the garnishment and your attorney can advise you the best way to do that.
If you have any questions about garnishment, bankruptcy or any other legal matter affecting you financially, please feel free to call me at 704.749.7747. I’m here to help.