Can my Social Security disability benefit be garnished?

On Behalf of | Jan 12, 2018 | Social Security Disability

While this blog has talked a lot about what residents of Central Florida can do to obtain disability benefits through the Social Security Administration, it also important for disabled Floridians who need disability to understand what could happen to their monthly payments once they obtain them.

The good news is that, with the exception of child support, private creditors generally cannot garnish a person’s disability check. However, the United States government can and often will garnish benefits that are paid under the SSDI program, which is the program a person would use if they are disabled but have a steady work history. Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is safe from garnishment across the board.

Debts owed to the federal government include things like back taxes and other debts which a person may owe to the United States, including student loan debts, especially those which are in default, and debts associated with federally backed housing loans.

Except with respect to taxes and child support, the first $750 of a person’s SSDI monthly benefits are safe. Beyond that, the government can take up to 15 percent of the overall monthly benefit. The IRS has more leeway to garnish, as they can take a 15 percent cut of a person’s SSDI benefit without regard to the $750 safe harbor.

With respect to child support, a person could easily wind up having to turn over half of her monthly check to pay or catch up on support obligations and, in many circumstances, may even be expected to turn over even more.

While it is important for a disabled person to realize that the government might have a claim on his or her monthly benefits, it is still usually worth it for a disabled person to apply and get the help he or she can after being out of work due to a disability.


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