Social Security Disability benefits and garnishment; know the risks


Social Security Disability benefits can provide a lifeline for individuals unable to work. However, it’s important for recipients to understand that their benefits could be subject to garnishment.

Obtaining Social Security Disability benefits often takes time and patience. But, when benefits are granted, they can provide the much needed lifeline for individuals who are unable to work.

However, it’s important for recipients of various types of Social Security Disability benefits to understand that in certain circumstances their benefits could be in danger. If recipients have outstanding debts that are turned over to debt collectors or collection agencies, their benefits could be seized or garnished from their bank accounts.

Therefore, it’s important to know which benefits and which debts are off limits.

Social Security Disability Insurance

Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, is a government program that provides financial assistance to disabled individuals who are unable to work. Individuals receiving benefits under SSDI must have paid Social Security FICA taxes through their paychecks. The amounts SSDI recipients receive are essentially based on earned work credits.

Fortunately, SSDI benefits cannot be garnished by creditors, including credit card companies, mortgage lenders, or auto financing companies, to satisfy a debt.

However, these types of disability benefits can be garnished by the federal government. Typically, the government will seize SSDI benefits from recipients’ bank accounts if they are delinquent on past due taxes, child support, alimony, or federal student loans. SSDI benefits can also be seized to pay for Court Ordered Victims Restitution.

However, a bank or financial institution is mandated to investigate and conduct a thorough review prior to freezing Social Security disability benefits in compliance with a garnishment order.

Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income, commonly known as SSI, is a program that helps provide monetary assistance to disabled individuals. To obtain SSI, individuals need not have paid FICA payroll taxes but qualify if they have limited income or assets.

Fortunately, SSI cannot be garnished by creditors or the federal government to satisfy delinquent debts.

Additional protections for SSDI recipients

It’s important to understand that above information is simply offered as a general guideline when it comes to either SSDI or SSI garnishment. Certain jurisdictions could provide additional protections to those receiving Social Security Disability benefits who are delinquent on certain debts.

Consulting with a lawyer for clarification

If you are receiving Social Security Disability benefits and fear that they could be garnished, speaking with an experienced Social Security attorney is vital. A lawyer knowledgeable in this area of law can offer advice as it pertains to your circumstances and the jurisdiction where you live.

Keywords: Social Security Disability benefits, garnishment