Answers about Garnishments

Are my federal benefits automatically protected by my bank from a garnishment order, or do I have to do something to protect them?

If you received your benefits by direct deposit during the review period, a minimum amount of certain federal benefits are automatically protected from garnishment. The bank must allow you to withdraw any money in your account that is automatically protected from garnishment. The federal benefits that banks must automatically protect are: Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income benefits, Veteran’s benefits, Railroad Retirement benefits, and benefits from the Office of Personnel Management.

Up to two months of these federal benefits may be automatically protected if they are direct deposited into your bank account. The amount automatically protected will never be more than the account balance on the day of review.

For example, if you received $3,000 in federal benefit payments during the two month review period but your account balance is only $1,000, the protected amount will be $1,000.

If you have more money in your account than is automatically protected, the extra money is not automatically protected.

For example, if you received $3,000 in federal benefits during the two month review period but your account balance is $4,000, then only $3,000 will be automatically protected.

September 2017