Dear Savvy Senior,
Can my Social Security allowances be busy if I accept some outstanding debts? I aloof angry 62 and would like to alpha accession my retirement benefits, but appetite to acquisition this out afore I apply.
Whether your Social Security allowances are garnishable or not depends on whom you owe. Banks and added banking creditors, for example, can’t blow your Social Security checks. But if Uncle Sam is accession on a debt, some of your allowances are fair game. Here’s what you should know.
If you accept acclaim agenda debts, medical bills, contributed claimed loans or pay day loans, you’ll be blessed to apperceive that your Social Security allowances are safe from your creditors. Section 207 of the Social Security Act prohibits debt collectors or a defalcation cloister from dipping into your coffer annual to booty Social Security money for purposes of advantageous off what you owe.
Supplemental Security Assets (SSI), veterans benefits, federal agent and civilian account retirement benefits, and allowances administered by the Railroad Retirement Board Administration can’t be affected either.
But be acquainted that your creditors can still booty acknowledged activity adjoin you to balance what you owe them, and depending on your state’s law, they may be able to adornment your accomplishment and tap into added acceptable assets, if you accept any.
If, however, you owe money to Uncle Sam, it’s a actual altered story. The federal government can adornment a allocation of your Social Security allowances for claim of several types of debts, including federal assets taxes, federal apprentice loans, state-ordered adolescent abutment and alimony, nontax debt owed to added federal agencies, defaulted federal home loans and assertive civilian penalties. (If you accept SSI, those allowances cannot be busy beneath any circumstance.)
How abundant can absolutely be taken depends on the blazon of debt you owe. In best situations, the government can cull 15 percent of your allowances to awning your debt, but beneath the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, it charge leave you at atomic $750 anniversary month. That is, unless the burden is for federal assets taxes. In that case, the government isn’t appropriate to leave $750 behind.
The added barring is for adolescent abutment or keep payments. Depending on your accompaniment laws, the cloister may be able to booty bisected of your allowances or added to pay your obligations to your accouchement or ex-spouse.
If you anticipate your Social Security allowances ability be raided to pay behind bills, you charge to abode the botheration – don’t avoid it. Best government agencies are blessed to assignment with you so continued as you’re accommodating to assignment with them.
The government about sends several belletrist about a debt afore it takes action. The final letter will acquaint you of the absorbed to burden Social Security payments, and afterwards that, you accept 30 canicule to acquaintance the bureau and assignment out a acquittal plan.
To get a handle on your debt problems, accede contacting a nonprofit banking counseling agency, which offers chargeless and bargain casework on managing banking problems. To locate a aboveboard bureau in your area, use the National Foundation for Acclaim Counseling website at NFCC.org or alarm 800-388-2227.
You additionally charge to accomplish abiding you’re not missing out on any banking abetment programs. The National Council on Aging’s website (BenefitsCheckup.org) contains a database of added than 2,500 federal, accompaniment and bounded programs that can advice seniors with decree biologic costs, bloom care, food, utilities, and added basal needs. The armpit will advice you locate programs that you may be acceptable for and will appearance you how to apply.
Send your chief questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or appointment SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today appearance and columnist of “The Savvy Senior” book.
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