If I owe city taxes, can my social security check be garnished?

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If I owe city taxes, can my social security check be garnished?

I worked for a company that only took city taxes out in the city where I worked, not for the city I lived in. Therefore, I owe that city taxes. Can they garnish my Social Security check? My husband and I both get a Social Security Check and that’s our only income.

Asked on February 24, 2017 under Bankruptcy Law, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, Social Security payments cannot be garnished. That having been said, there are certain exceptions to this (for example, amounts owed for federal taxes can be seized). However, city taxes are not one of those exceptions, therefore a city cannot levy against your Social Security. Additionally, if your money is deposited into a bank account and the bank receives a garnishment order from a creditor, it cannot freeze money that came from Social Security benefits if the government deposited the benefits directly into your account within 2 months prior to the garnishment order. Basically then, your bank must ensure that you have access to 2 months worth of social security benefits. If there is more than 2 months worth of these benefits in your account, they may also be protected but the protection is not automatic (i.e. you would have to fight to show where the money came from). Also, if you get Social Security, do not move the money in to another account, keep it in the account that it was deposited into. Finally, if you receive Social Security on a prepaid card, they are still automatically protected from garnishment just like money in a bank account.


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