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Anti-Garnishment Letter for Social Security

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General Information

Some property cannot legally be taken by creditors to pay a debt. Property that cannot be legally taken to pay a debt is called exempt. If your bank account only includes income that is exempt, then your account cannot be garnished. Your social security is exempt. So, if the only income going into your bank account is your Social Security check, then most creditors cannot garnish it. If your only monthly income is Social Security, it would be wise to send an anti-garnishment letter to your bank. If your Social Security is electronically deposited into your bank account, then the bank should automatically look at what exempted amount was deposited within the past 2 months and allow you, the account holder, full access to that amount.

Even if the exempt funds are mixed with other funds in the bank account, the bank has the responsibility to protect the full amount that is exempt. Also, it does not make a difference whether there is a co-owner on the account. However, it is best to keep your Social Security in an account by itself.

Are there creditors that can garnish my Social Security?

Yes. Your Social Security can be garnished to pay unpaid child support, some kinds of unpaid taxes, some unpaid student loans, and money owed to the federal government.

How do I use the anti-garnishment letter?

  1. Fill in the name and address of your bank.
  2. Fill in the account number of the bank account that only has exempt money in it.
  3. Date and sign the letter.
  4. Send the letter by certified mail, return receipt requested Or, hand deliver it so that you can prove when the bank received your letter.
  5. Be sure to keep a copy of the letter for your records.

Click here for the corresponding guide to using this letter. 

MD-DCPL-500