Exemptions for Retirement Pension and Social Security Benefits

Question:
A bank got a money judgment on me for an old credit card debt in a debt collection lawsuit. I receive retirement from my state job and Social Security benefits. Can they garnish either of these?

My response:

Except for child, family, or spousal support, public retirement benefits are exempt from garnishment, per Cal. Code of Civil Procedure, Section 704.110. Similarly, private retirement benefits are exempt from garnishment, per Cal. Code of Civil Procedure, Section 704.115.

Be sure you notify the bank, credit union, or other institution in which such funds are electronically deposited that these funds are exempt from levy.  Verify that they understand the funds are exempt and should not be released if levied.  Otherwise, find another financial institution which will reject attempts to levy exempt public retirement funds and Social Security Benefits, per Cal. Code of Civil Procedure, Section 704.080.

Do not put other funds in the account with exempt funds, or those funds may be levied and the funds applied to satisfy a bank levy.  If the account balance is below $1225 for a single account, then the bank should automatically consider them exempt, under Section 704.080, subdivision (b)(1), for direct deposits. There are other amounts that are automatically exempt, so please see that statute to see if your situation applies.  Otherwise, keep no more than the exempt amount in the account, if an outstanding money judgment is lurking against you.

Robert Stempler
www.StopCollectionLawsuits.com
Twitter @RStempler

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