There is a “new law” that actually passed in 1996, that allows federal agencies, all kinds, including executive, legislative and judicial, to administratively garnish the paychecks of individuals, notwithstanding State law, such as the Texas Constitution, that otherwise bans wage garnishment. It has taken them this long to write the implementing regulations, so that they can finally start using it.

So if you owe a federal agency money, such as the Small Business Administration, or the Dept. of Veteran’s Affairs, or really any federal agency, look out! You could find up to 15% of your paycheck garnished, seized, taken, before you even see it. 

Of course the ability to discharge or cancel the federal debts in bankruptcy is unaffected, so that may be your only option, if you find yourself being garnished for federal debts in the future. Unless you can just afford to let them take 15% of your pay “off the top.”

J Thomas Black
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Board Certified, Consumer Bankruptcy Law- Texas Board of Legal Specialization