Can a collection agency garnish my SSI?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a collection agency garnish my SSI?

I have fines from a DUI from almost that were sent to a collection agency because I couldn’t pay them.

I’ve recently begun to receive SSI payments and I would like to get my license again. I only receive $514 a month and the fines have grown to over $3,400 since collections has taken over. I’ve already taken 21 hours of prevention and treatment classes, I was ordered to complete community labor hours but because of my back, I can’t handle any physical labor.

Asked on December 19, 2018 under Bankruptcy Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

While there are a few debts or obligations for which SSI can be garnished (e.g. federal tax debts; child support; victim restitution), amounts owed as fines for DUI are not one of them. Your SSI should be safe from garnishment. 
However, this will not help you with or exempt you from the community service or labor.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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