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UncategorizedCan My Disability Check Be Garnished?

January 11, 2021

Monthly disability payments are critical to supporting those who are unable to work due to a permanent illness, injury, or a lifelong condition. That being said, many who receive a Social Security disability check have limited income. A month or two behind on a bill can lead to mounting debt with no end in sight. Creditor letters and calls threatening garnishment feels intrusive, overwhelming, and stressful.

At Watson & Carroll, P.C., L.L.O., we strive to keep disability beneficiaries informed of their rights. However, we do not handle debtor’s rights cases. This informational blog explains what kinds of deductions can legally be made from your disability check – and what to do if you are facing garnishment to settle a debt. 

Social Security Disability Lawyer 

If you believe your disability payment is being improperly garnished, the Social Security Disability lawyer at Watson & Carroll, P.C., L.L.O. can help. Our knowledgeable disability attorney can offer support and advice as it pertains to your debt and circumstances. Call us today at 402-234-8787. You also can share your story here

What Debts Can Be Deducted From Disability Benefits?

Filing a disability claim is often a challenging and lengthy process. Since you are unable to work, disability benefits likely cover your basic living expenses. 

Disability benefits are subject to administrative offsets, in which the government takes funds normally paid to you and then uses that money to help cover debts you owe. Delinquent child support, delinquent taxes, and defaulted student loans may fall into this category. There is a list of federal payments that are exempt from being offset, but Social Security disability benefits are not included.

At one time, disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) were protected from offset through an anti-assignment clause of the Social Security Act. The clause was intended to provide complete protection against government entities or people who wanted to collect private or public debts from an individual’s Social Security disability benefits.

There have been changes throughout the years, though, and exceptions have been made in the laws that allow the government to collect some debts from  Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Because of that, the collection of defaulted student loans, food stamp overpayments, delinquent taxes, delinquent child support debts, and interim assistance collection is allowed. Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is a needs-based program, is not subjected to the policy and cannot be garnished.

The government uses different legal methods legal to garnish disability benefits depending on the kind of debt owed. If you are behind in child support, officials will garnish your benefits. If you owe for an overpayment of food stamps, they will file a Notice of Intent to Collect by Administrative Offset. Regardless, you will be notified that some of your benefits are being deducted to cover your debt.

Limits For Offsets and Garnishments

There are limits to how much of your disability benefits can be used to pay administrative offsets or garnishments. If your debts are not related to child support, no more than 15% of your monthly check can be taken.

Are Disability Benefits Taxed?

There are two different disability programs, as previously mentioned – SSDI and SSI. SSDI is not based on income and can be taxed. How much of your SSDI benefits are taxed is dependent on the amount of your income. SSI benefits are needs-based, so they are not taxable.

If you have questions about garnishments, administrative orders, and taxes as they pertain to your disability check, speak with a knowledgeable Social Security disability lawyer. Call Watson & Carroll today. You can share your story here

About Watson & Carroll 

Watson & Carroll, P.C., L.L.O., is not a high-volume law firm that only speaks with clients when it is absolutely necessary. For us, it’s personal. Our team works closely with our clients and their loved ones – not only so that we understand their challenges and concerns, but so we can tailor our approach to address those factors, aggressively pursue results, and secure peace of mind. Whether it is a workers’ compensation case, a personal injury claim, a medical malpractice case, or advocating for disability benefits, we work to protect our clients and make sure their rights are upheld. 

Our firm can help. Call 402-234-8787 or email contact@watsoncarroll.com. You also can fill out our confidential contact form


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