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Frequently Asked Questions

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Section 459 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 659) permits Social Security to withhold current and continuing Social Security payments to enforce your legal obligation to pay child support, alimony, or restitution. By law, we do not make retroactive adjustments.

If you disagree with the garnishment, contact an attorney or representative where the court issued the order, not Social Security.


Section 1024 of the Tax Payer Relief Act of 1997 (Public Law 105-30) authorizes the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to levy up to 15% of each Social Security payment for overdue Federal tax debts until the tax debt is paid.

Contact the IRS at 1-800-829-7650 to discuss any appeal rights.

The Department of the Treasury (Treasury) can also withhold Social Security benefits to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed to other federal agencies under the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-134). Treasury controls this activity and will contact you if you owe a non-tax debt.

If you have questions about the levy for a non-tax debt, contact Treasury at 1-800-304-3107.

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