Video: the road to wage garnishment


Check out Ted's new motorbike. He had to borrow to get it, but that's one sweet ride.

Ted doesn't know it, but he's on the road to garnishment. He's so busy learning tricks he doesn't pay the bills for his bike. Not even the past due notices. 

After 180 days, the lender sends the debt to collections. Ted? He's too busy to read about court dates.

He doesn't realize the road he's on until he swipes his debit card to buy gas and there's no money in his account. When he didn't show for his court date, a judge entered a garnishment order.

A garnishment order lets lenders take money until a debt is satisfied. They can go to Ted's employer and have money deducted from his pay. Embarrassing. They can go to his bank and drain his savings and checking accounts, too.

The amount garnished is typically up to 25 percent of disposable income. 

Garnishment is complex -- the rules vary by state, your employment status and your income.

Some types of income, such as Social Security, are protected from garnishment. The rules are gentler for some types of debt, such as student loans, and tougher for others, like child support. 

All very tricky. But don't talk to Ted about tricks. He's not doing them anymore. His bike? Sold so he could get out from under garnishment sooner. Not so sweet.

See related: Steps to contest, end wage garnishment, Debt lingers on credit report even after garnishment, repayment, What benefits are exempt from garnishment?

Join the discussion
We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending on your privacy settings. By leaving the 'Post to Facebook' box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.

The editorial content on is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company's business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.

Weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, advice, articles and tips delivered to your inbox. It's FREE.

Updated: 03-26-2019