Income from Social Security and Disability cannot be attached.

According to the Wall Street Journal, unscrupulous debt collectors are going to court to get attachments on bank accounts in which all or most of the money comes from social security checks. Electronic records and auto-deposit have made this much easier.

Because fedaral law forbids attaching Social Secuirity or Disability payments, banks should refuse to apply these attachments if the money in the bank account is mostly social security money, but except in the few states with regulations that make them refuse, they usually do as asked and attach the accounts. They do not even tell you that you can fill out forms that will stop the attachment. This leads to bounced checks and big fees from the bank. It stinks!

What you can do to avoid this unlawful treatment if you have even small debts outstanding.

1. Make your accounts harder to find. Use small, local banks. Getting your check in the mail is another protection.

2. If a creditor calls you into court, GO. Never let the creditor show up in court alone. It’s a recipe for disaster. If you go to Small Claims Court you stand a good chance of winning if you do not have the resources to pay the bill. And if most of your money comes from Social Security, the court will never allow an attachment.

3. If you find out your (mostly social security sourced) account has been attached, go to your bank and raise hell until they obey the law and remove the attachment and all charges.

4. If none of the above works, or if you cannot do it, call a bankruptcy lawyer. If you are living on social security and not much more, you have two forms of bankruptcy available. Either one will get the wolves off your back, and they could save you thousands of dollars.

For more information on bankruptcy, click here.

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