What is the maximum percentage you can be garnished for things like credit cards and medical bills?

UPDATED: Jan 9, 2012

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What is the maximum percentage you can be garnished for things like credit cards and medical bills?

And what if there are 2 places garnishing at the same time?

Asked on January 9, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Under federal law and in most states, the maximum you can be garnished for medical bills and credit card debt is 25% of your "disposable" income, with disposable for this purpose being all income less mandatory withholding, like FICA--so it's basically 25% of around 96% of your income. You can be garnished by multiple creditors, as long as the total garnishment, from all the debts or creditors, does not exceed 25%.

Note the following:

1) You can only be garnished to the extent your weekly income exceeds 30 times the minimum hourly wage, so low-income wage earners may have less than 25% of their income garnished.

2) Tax debts, alimony, and child support will allow greater garnishment; up to at least 50%, I believe.

3) There are a very few states which do not allow wage garnishment at all: Texas is one, and I believe North Carolina may be another.

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