Stimulus test questions answered: Garnishment, taxes, extra – Q&A

The answer in Georgia state is yes, but only in some situations – and not all.

ATLANTA – Washington continues to send stimulus checks to nearly 160 million Americans – and delivers the checks either electronically to people’s bank accounts or by mail.

And one of the most common questions that keep getting asked is whether creditors can confiscate these checks to settle old debts so that the check recipient is left with nothing.

The answer in Georgia state is yes, but only in some situations – and not all.

The way it is, debt collectors come for your stimulus checks when you have criminal debts.

11Alive answered this question from the viewers and several other stimulus testing questions. Here are the answers below.

Q. I have old credit card debt and old unpaid medical bills. Will the creditors use my stimulus check?

A. Perhaps IF the creditors already have a court order placing or freezing a claim in your bank account.

“Yes, collection agencies (in Georgia) can actually – if they have a court order – try to get the money through the bank account,” said Professor Usha Rackliffe of Goizueta Business School at Emory University in Atlanta.

A stimulus check “can be garnished” by any private debt collector who demands payment from a debtor in Georgia.

When Congress passed the latest COVID stimulus plan, the law made a distinction between personal debt – money owed to credit card companies, hospitals, lenders for school fees – and government debt like back taxes and criminal child child support payments.

Professor Rackliffe said the earlier stimulus checks issued last December had been protected from any seizure by both private and government creditors.

But Rackliffe said that under the new federal law that governs current stimulus payments, private debt collection agencies can garnish a debtor’s stimulus check, but state debt collection agencies cannot.

Which is what this viewer asked:

Question: Will my incentive for child benefit or tax back payments be garnished?

A. No, stimulus checks are not garnished for government debt.

Q. I just filed my 2020 taxes and I owe taxes. Will that be taken out of my charm?

A. No, stimulus checks are not garnished for taxes owed.

Question: How do I get incentive money from tenants that I had to vacate?

A. You can’t unless you already have a court order with your bank.

“You must have a court order,” said Rackliffe, Georgia, “a court order is what a bank is going to be looking for because you can’t just go to the bank and get money from another account.” Of course, that can’t happen. “

The seizure laws for stimulus tests are complex. Some states protect stimulus checks from attachment. Georgia allows private lenders to use the courts to seize stimulus checks from people with criminal debts.

“It depends on how much you owe, how long you’ve owed it and what the court order says you have to pay,” explained Rackliffe. “The problem of attachment only arises when you are in arrears. So if you (owe money) but are up to date (with your payments) and in good standing, that’s not a problem. “

In general, according to Professor Rackliffe, a bank needs to see a court order before they can transfer a private creditor to a debtor’s bank account in order to receive their stimulus check.

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