Bankruptcy Law Questions? Ask a Bankruptcy Lawyer Now.
Federal law makes your Social Security benefits exempt from levy, garnishment, assignment by regular creditors, and from the trustee in bankruptcy. (The federal government can withhold some part of Social Security payments for taxes, student loans, or support, however.) That means that even a creditor with a judgment cannot intercept your Social Security payments nor can they take the money from you after it has been paid to you.
Most pension plans are exempt from garnishment, although some may only have a specified portion protected. Overall, garnishing payments made from a retirement plan is very difficult. Most retirement plans contain "anti-alienation" provisions barring the plan administrator from paying benefits to anyone except the plan holder or beneficiary, such as a spouse.
Whether or not your pension can be garnished depends on how your pension is set up. My suggestion is to contact someone at your company and ask how the program is set up and whether it is protected from creditors.
Sorry - I don't know why I had pension in my head -
Retirement pay is not subject to the Defense Department policy allowing creditors to garnish military paychecks to satisfy bad debts.
One exception - a civilian court can garnishee the income of retirees if they fall behind in alimony or child support. Garnishment begins with a court order sent to a military finance center.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).