Wage garnishment limits

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Wage garnishment limits

Are there any laws to protect a person from having all their wages garnished? Shouldn’t you be left enough earnings to be able to survive?

Asked on June 19, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Under federal law, garnishment for consumer debt can't be more than 25% of your "disposable income" -- which is gross income minus taxes, social security, other mandatory deductions.  Child support and possibly the government could go higher, but if they are in place, anybody else has to wait.

J.V., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Yes there are federal regulations in place that limit the amount of money that can be garnished from a persons wages. Although I am not admitted in TN so I cannot state specifically if that state has their own regulations the general rule is that no more than 10% of a persons wages can be garnished.

The Department of Education however is now issuing withholding orders for up to 15% of the disposal pay of individuals who owe a debt to Education. This withholding is authorized by the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996.

So depending of where the debt originated the amount may differ but the entire amount cannot be garnished. If this is happening you should contact a local attorney who can contact whomever is garnishing you and ensure that is stopped. You may also want to discuss a possible action if all your wages have been garnished as that is a violation of federal law. Good luck


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