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Can a debt collector take my Social Security or Veterans benefits?

Debt Collection & Payday Loans

Debt collection and benefits

This article provides answers to what a debt collector can and cannot do to your social security or VA benefits.

Can a debt collector take my social security or Veterans benefits?

No, Social Security and Veterans Benefits are generally protected from debt collectors. If your payments are entered directly into a bank account, debt collectors cannot garnish your Social Security or Veterans Benefits to collect debt. If the debt collector knows that your only source of income is protected, they can be in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

 Some types of debts are not protected against garnishment. These include:

  • Unpaid child support
  • Some kinds of unpaid taxes
  • Some unpaid student loans
  • Money owed to the federal government

How do I let my bank know that I only have protected money (Social Security and/or Veterans Benefits) in my bank account?

You can send an Anti-Garnishment Letter to your bank.

  • Fill in the name and address of your bank
  • Fill in the account number of the bank account that only has exempt money in it
  • Date and sign the letter
  • Send the letter certified mail, return receipt requested
  • Or, hand deliver it so that you can prove when the bank received your letter

Be sure to keep a copy of the letter for your records.

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