Can a debt collector garnish wages from someone on state assistance and on unemployment?

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Can a debt collector garnish wages from someone on state assistance and on unemployment?

Asked on July 26, 2011 Utah

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A debt collector cannot just garnish funds. It will first have to go to court to obtain a judgement. You will also receive notice of this so that you can attend; you can then present any defenses to the action that you might have. If your creditor, however, wins it will be awarded the judgment. At that point it can garnish any of your "non-exempt" assets. Fortunately for you, unemployment and related state assistatance benefits are "exempt" assets. This means that they cannot be garnished. So as long as that's all you have, you're safe. Just note, these assets will be protected in your bank account (just make sure that you have direct deposit) but any other funds deposited won't be.


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