Can Social Security benefits be garnished, levied or otherwise withheld by the Federal government?

There are a number of circumstances when the Federal government can garnish Social Security benefits. 

Social Security will garnish benefits: 

  • To enforce child support or alimony obligations under 42 USC 659;
  • To enforce a valid garnishment for court-ordered victim restitution under 18 USC 3613;
  • To collect unpaid Federal taxes under 26 USC 6334(c);
  • To have a portion of your check withheld to satisfy a current year Federal income tax liability under 26 USC 3402 (P); or 
  • Other Federal agencies will offset benefits to collect money from benefits to pay a non-tax debt owed to that agency according to the Debt Collection Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-134).
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Topic Information
  • Topic #: 34011-2892
  • Date Created: 12/5/2013
  • Last Modified Since: 3/12/2014
  • Viewed: 4184