Can they garnish my unemployment? 12 Answers as of June 15, 2011

I have medical bills I have struggled to pay for the last 3 years. I have no other debt or credit cards. I have received a summons to go to court on another medical debt. My paycheck is already garnished for another creditor. My question is if I file for bankruptcy before the court date will I still have to pay? My husband is on social security disability, is that exempt from garnishing? Also I have been laid off and will get my final paycheck before court. I will get unemployment benefits. Can they garnish it? And last, if all my income is exempt, should I file bankruptcy at all?

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Daniel Hoarfrost, Attorney at Law
Daniel Hoarfrost, Attorney at Law | Daniel Hoarfrost
disability and unemployment are exempt from garnishment.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 6/15/2011
Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
Social security disability cannot be garnished. Unemployment is exempt pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure Section 704.120.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/14/2011
Jackson White, PC
Jackson White, PC | Spencer Hale
In Arizona the social security benefits and the state unemployment benefits would be exempt from creditors. If your income is the only asset you have you may not have to file bankruptcy if you are okay dealing with the creditors harassing you. Otherwise, if you have other assets, you just want the creditors to stop contacting you, or you plan on obtaining new employment, you should probably consider filing bankruptcy.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 6/14/2011
David R. Fondren, Attorney at Law
David R. Fondren, Attorney at Law | David R. Fondren
You do not intend to stay unemployed forever. When you get a job, you will be back where you are. Missouri considers medical services as a "necessity" and medical providers can sue both spouses. You did not mention if they sued your spouse or not. They cannot garnish SSI, but money in the bank is just money in the bank. Although, recently I have heard of people having success in protecting bank accounts where all the money is from ssi. I would not count on it though. I do not think unemployment is exempt. But, garnishments have to leave you with at least minimum wage.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 6/14/2011
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
Unemployment is likely to be exempt. If you file BK, the automatic stay will bar creditors from proceeding.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/13/2011
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    It sounds like you need bankruptcy protection. Do not delay, go see a lawyer. Get a bankruptcy filed to stop the garnishment on your final paycheck. If you are willing to let them garnish your last paycheck you don't need one now. Eventually you will if you intend to go back to work.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed
    Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed | Robert Weed
    There's often no reason to file bankruptcy if all your income is social security because they can't garnish that. Do you ever expect to work again? Do you own your house or anything else valuable? Is there any chance you will inherit something in the future. Do you have any money anywhere? It sounds like you should have filed bankruptcy three years ago, instead of struggling with those medical bills and letting yourself get garnished. Maybe it doesn't matter any more. But maybe you are going form excuse to excuse not filing bankruptcy when you still should.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    If you file bankruptcy, it will prevent or stop garnishment.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Financial Relief Law Center
    Financial Relief Law Center | Mark Alonso
    Unemployment cannot be garnished.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Greifendorff Law Offices, PC
    Greifendorff Law Offices, PC | Christine Wilton
    The decision to file bankruptcy is yours alone to make.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Social security cannot be attached in any way. You should see a bankruptcy lawyer to evaluate other reasons to file or not file.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
    Social Security is exempt from garnishment, but to be safe it should be in a separate account. I don't know your state's laws about garnishing unemployment. If you file bankruptcy before the garnished money is turned over to the court your lawyer should be able to get it back for you. As to whether to file bankruptcy, it will stop all collection efforts from past debts and it will stop more garnishments. You may qualify for legal aid or for referral to a lawyer who will do it for free or for a reduced fee.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/13/2011
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