What are the laws allowing the garnishment and levy of Social Security benefits?

Section 207 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 407) protects Social Security benefits from garnishment, levy or other withholdings by the federal government, except:

  • To enforce child support and alimony obligations under Section 459 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 659);
  • For certain civil penalties under the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act (18 U.S.C. 3613);
  • With a Notice of Levy to collect overdue federal taxes under Section 6334(c) of the Internal Revenue Code;
  • Through the Federal Payment Levy Program to collect overdue federal taxes by levying up to 15 percent of each monthly payment until the debt is paid under Section 1024 of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 (Public Law 105-34);
  • To withhold and pay another federal agency for a non-tax debt you owe to that agency according to the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-134).

You can choose for Social Security to withhold a percentage of your benefits to pay to the Internal Revenue Service to satisfy your federal income tax liability for the current year. 

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  • Topic #: 34011-3812
  • Date Created: 04:03:2014
  • Last Modified Since: 05:02:2014
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