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Can the Franchise Tax Board of Ca garnish my SSI

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Can the Franchise Tax Board of Ca garnish my SSI?

Hello and thanks so much for choosing this forum to pose your important legal question. I will do my best to give you some honest and accurate guidance as I answer your question.


  1. I am a licensed attorney, and I will be glad to try and answer your question. I hope that the following information will be helpful to you, but please just write back if you have any follow-up questions or need clarification on anything after reviewing the following information. I would be glad to interact with you further if needed after you click "Accept" to process my answer.
  2. I am pleased to say that the answer to your question is a firm "No". The law could not be clearer. To preserve federal benefits for their intended recipients, Congress provided that the benefits cannot be seized to pay debts, as such seizures would result in the loss of subsistence funds. Each of the statutes governing the distribution of these funds specifically articulates that these funds are to be free from "attachment or garnishment or other legal process." The Social Security Act specifically says: "The right of any person to any future payment under this subchapter shall not be transferable or assignable, at law or in equity, and none of the moneys paid or payable or rights existing under this subchapter shall be subject to execution, levy, attachment, garnishment, or other legal process, or to the operation of any bankruptcy or insolvency law." Social Security Act, at 42 U.S.C. § 407(a).
  3. This nation's Courts have consistently said that exemptions are to be liberally construed in favor of the debtor. In re Cain, 235 B.R. 812 (Bankr. M.D.N.C. 1998). The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly reiterated that Social Security benefits are protected from attachment and garnishment. Bennett v. Arkansas, 485 U.S. 395,XXXXX 1204, 99 L. Ed. 2d 455 (1988); 12 Philpott v. Essex Cty. Welfare Bd, 409 U.S. 413,XXXXX 590, 34 L. Ed. 2d 608 (1973). The protections in these federal statutes explicitly apply to benefits that are "paid and payable", thus making the benefits exempt both before and after payment to the beneficiary,regardless of whether the creditor is a state or a private entity.


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The information provided is general in nature only and should not be construed as legal advice. By using this forum, you acknowledge that no attorney-client relationship has been created between you and Benjamin M. Burt, Jr., Esq. You should always consult with a lawyer in your state.

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