Ask a Lawyer and Get Answers to Your Legal Questions
Here are the Tennessee statutes relating to judgment recovery:
26-2-102. "Earnings," "disposable earnings," "garnishment," defined. -
As used in this part unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) "Earnings" means the compensation paid or payable for personal services, whether denominated as wages, salary, commission, bonus, or otherwise, and includes periodic payments pursuant to a pension or retirement program;
(2) "Disposable earnings" means that part of the earnings of an individual remaining after the deduction from those earnings of any amounts required by law to be withheld; and
(3) "Garnishment" means any legal or equitable procedure through which the earnings of an individual are required to be withheld for payment of any debt.
[Acts 1978, ch. 915, § 8; T.C.A., § 26-207, T.C.A., § 26-2-105.]
26-2-105. State pension moneys, certain retirement plan funds or assets, exempt. -
(a) All moneys received as pension from the state of Tennessee, or any subdivision or municipality thereof, before receipt, or while in the recipient's hands or upon deposit in the bank, shall be exempt from execution, attachment or garnishment other than an order for assignment of support issued under § 36-5-501, whether such pensioner is the head of a family or not.
(b) Except as provided in subsection (c), any funds or other assets payable to a participant or beneficiary from, or any interest of any participant or beneficiary in, a retirement plan which is qualified under §§ 401(a), 403(a), 403(b), 408 and 408A, or an Archer medical savings account qualified under § 220 or a health savings account qualified under § 223 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, are exempt from any and all claims of creditors of the participant or beneficiary, except the state of Tennessee. All records of the debtor concerning such plan and of the plan concerning the debtor's participation in the plan, or interest in the plan, are exempt from the subpoena process.
(c) Any plan or arrangement described in subsection (b), except a public plan under subsection (a), is not exempt from the claims of an alternate payee under a qualified domestic relations order. However, the interest of any and all alternate payees under a qualified domestic relations order are exempt from any and all claims of any creditor, other than the state of Tennessee. As used in this subsection (c), "alternate payee" and "qualified domestic relations order" have the meaning ascribed to them in § 414(p) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. Notwithstanding any provision of this subsection (c) to the contrary, an optional retirement program established pursuant to title 8, chapter 35, part 4, shall honor claims under a qualified domestic relations order; provided, that such order complies with the provisions of § 8-35-410.
[Acts 1978, ch. 915, § 7; T.C.A., § 26-206; Acts 1986, ch. 890, § 8; Acts 1988, ch. 854, § 1; 1997, ch. 303, § 2, T.C.A., § 26-2-104; Acts 2001, ch. 260, § 1; 2005, ch. 204, § 25; 2007, ch. 176, § 1.]
From reading the above statute, it appears your pension is exempt, except for a child support order.
Happy New Year!
You can always call the collection agency and enter into a payment agreement with them to prevent the case from becoming a judgment.
Let me look into this a little further for you.
The Sheriff cannot carry you out of your house, if that is what you are asking.
I am glad that you are working on a masters!
Section 207 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 407) protects Social Security benefits from assignment, levy, or garnishment. However, the law provides five exceptions:Section 459 of the Act (42 U.S.C. 659) allows Social Security benefits to be garnished to enforce child support and/or alimony obligations; Section 6334 (c) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 6334 (c)) allows benefits to be garnished to collect unpaid Federal taxes; Section 3402 (P) of the Internal Revenue Code allows beneficiaries to elect to have a percentage of their benefits withheld and paid to the Internal Revenue Service to satisfy their Federal income tax liability for the current year; The Debt Collection Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-134) allows benefits to be withheld and paid to another Federal agency to pay a non-tax debt the beneficiary owes to that agency: and The Tax Payer Relief Act of 1997 (Public Law 105-34) authorizes the Internal Revenue Service to collect overdue federal tax debts of beneficiaries by levying up to 15 percent of each monthly payment until the debt is paid.The Social Security Administration's responsibility for protecting benefits against legal process and assignment usually ends when the beneficiary is paid. However, once paid, benefits continue to be protected under section 207 of the Act only as long as they are identifiable as Social Security benefits. This applies to money in a bank account where the only payments into the account are from direct deposit of Social Security benefits.
Good luck to you!