Garnishing The Stimulus Check

You think you’re excited to get your hands on your stimulus check? Imagine how excited debt collectors are to get their hands on your stimulus check!

People can’t wait to spend the government stimulus checks, but they may not have realized that debt collectors, and in some cases, the federal government itself, can swoop in and take that money before they ever have the chance to spend it.  If you owe child support, the Treasury Offset Program, the program that lets the government take tax refunds before they hit your bank account, will take the stimulus check to pay off past due child support. And if you’re behind in paying a court ordered judgment against you, debt collectors are not prevented under the Cares Act from getting a garnishment order against your bank account which would include the stimulus money sitting in it.

But other debts—for student loans or for tax default cannot be seized from the stimulus check so you are free to use the check to buy all the things people are posting they’re buying—guns, stuffed animals, or, as one person offered, half a tiger if someone is willing to go in on the other half with him.   

From The Judge Group, I’m Amy E. Feldman for KYW News Radio.

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