Can social security benefits be garnished?

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Can social security benefits be garnished?

I had a contract with my old roommate to pay me back my deposit. However, she won’t because she has no income except for social security and disability.

Asked on December 15, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately SS and most disability benefits are what are known as "exempt" funds; federal law prohibits garnishment of these monies. However, the benefits must be identifiable as SS or disavility benefits. Consequently, if your ex-roommate deposits this income into a bank account, they will only continue to be protected as long as they are identifiable as Social Security or disability benefits. Once they become mixed with other money, they may be garnished. Otherwise, if these benfits are kept separate and apart from other funds, you are out of luck.

Not withstanding the above, some disability benefits may be garnisehed. Specific state law will control. So at this point, you can consult directly with an attorney in your area.


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