Can Social Security benefits be garnished or withheld?
You may be wondering if your social security benefits can be withheld or garnished. There are certain cases that your social security benefits can be withheld. If they are withheld for any certain reason the amount which you owe will be deducted from your benefits, if the amount owed exceeds your benefits all of your benefits will be garnished.
Child Support and Alimony
If you have failed to adhere to your responsibility of child support then your social security benefits can be withheld. This is enforced under section 459 of the social security act. Also if you are required to pay alimony to an ex spouse your social security benefits will be withheld under the same section of the social security act.
Unpaid Federal Taxes
The Internal Revenue Service can levy against your social security benefits if you have unpaid federal taxes. According to section 6334 (c) of the internal revenue code the internal revenue service can withhold your social security benefits to ensure that your back taxes are paid. They can levy up to fifteen percent of your benefits until the amount due is paid. Your social security beneficiaries can have a portion of their monthly benefits garnished as well until the amount of federal taxes due is paid.
The Debt Collection Act
Other non-tax agencies can garnish your wages to ensure that you pay any funds due to them. This is enforced by the Debt Collection Act of 1996.
The Victim Restitution Act
18 USC 3613 allows certain civil penalties to garnish wages. This is under the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act. This means that if you are required to pay restitution to any victim your social security benefits can be withheld to ensure that these victims are paid.