Can they garnish my federal government pension or freeze my direct deposit? 10 Answers as of June 21, 2012

I got behind in a regular bill (not taxes, child support or any govt office) and now they have a lawyer who is harassing me. I want to pay but they won't accept my payments. I am a former government work and receiving a federal government pension. Can they garnshee my check or put a freeze on the checking account I have direct deposit to?

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Law Office of Kristen Allard Shier
Law Office of Kristen Allard Shier | Kristen Allard Shier
A creditor has no legal authority to garnish your pension without an order from the court. If you are served with a summons and complaint, however, you should not ignore it. If you ignore it and fail to file a response to the complaint within the allotted time, the court can enter a default judgment against you, and then the creditor can request a garnishment order from the court. Once the creditor has the garnishment order, they can and will garnish up to 25% of your pension.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 6/21/2012
Law Office of John C. Farrell, Jr.
Law Office of John C. Farrell, Jr. | John C. Farrell, Jr.
Typically pensions are exempt from being garnished. I would designate the account as a retirement account at your bank and do not co-mingle any non-exempt funds with them.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 6/19/2012
Clos, Russell & Wirth, P.C. | Gary A. Russell
Under federal law, pensions cannot be garnished. Bank accounts, however, can be garnished. Once your pension is deposited into the account, if the creditor has a judgment against you, the creditor can apply for a writ of garnishment from the court. If issued, then the bank will have to seize funds from your account to pay the amount listed in the garnishment. If you are also receiving social security benefits, and those are being deposited into the same account, there may be additional protection for you. You should consult an attorney for more specifics.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/19/2012
Olson Law Firm | Edward M Olson
They cannot garnish the retirement account. However, they can garnish your bank account after the retirement funds are deposited.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/19/2012
Alvin Lundgren | Alvin Lundgren
If a creditor has a judgment, they can garnish a checking account, however your pension income is exempt. SO if you get a notice of garnishment you will need to object in the court that issued the garnishment.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 6/18/2012
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    They can try but if all the money in that account is from your retirement, then they would have to remove the freeze.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A.
    Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A. | Diane L. Drain
    It depends on the state where you live. Please understand that bankruptcy is a very complicated process. It is wise to talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney before deciding to take this important step. Most Arizona bankruptcy attorneys offer a free consultation about the basics of bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    They may have difficulty intercepting your checks poor to deposit, but generally, once the funds are in your account it is fair game. You need an attorney to deal with their attorney!
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Clos, Russell & Wirth, P.C. | Charles E. Clos
    They cannot garnish the pension at the source which is the government. However, once the money is deposited into your account they can garnish the account. Thus once it is in your account the entire amount can be garnished.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/18/2012
    Coulter's Law
    Coulter's Law | Coulter K. Richardson
    No. Any pension is exempt. Fight it. Also, look up the FDCPA.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 6/18/2012
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