Robert McCullock
ABOUT Robert

Robert McCullock graduated from San Jose State University in 1997 with a Degree in Business Administration and a concentration in Finance. He started directly in the financial services industry and has worked over 15 years for a couple major brokerage companies in area of investment consultations. Robert also spent years as a local Branch Manager [...]

Are you worried that your retirement income might be garnished? While some debts are protected from debt collectors, there are a couple of ways in which Social Security can be garnished.

In this video, Pure Financial Advisors’ Robert McCullock, CFP® explains the specific circumstances under which your Social Security retirement income can – and cannot – be garnished.



Can your retirement income be garnished? It’s a question we received. In this video, I’m going to talk specifically about Social Security benefits. Now generally, your Social Security benefits, or any federal benefits, are protected under Section 207 of the Social Security Act. This protects your federal benefits from creditors. So if you have auto loans, you have credit card debt, you have payday loans, you have medical debt – your Social Security benefits are protected from being garnished from these sources. Now, there are two very specific other areas where they can be garnished.

The first one is the federal government itself. If you have back taxes or if you have student loan debt, your first $750 a month that you receive is protected. But beyond that, the federal government can take 15 percent of your benefit.

Secondly, a judge can garnish your Social Security benefits as part of a marriage settlement agreement. If you owe alimony or if you owe child support, and specifically if you are over 12 weeks past due, you can be dramatically garnished: up to 65 percent of your benefit can be reduced. Now, if you find yourself subject to a garnishment, you should likely go see an attorney. You can also check out the Social Security Administration Web site at SSA.gov. If you have further questions of any financial nature, we would love to receive those questions. Please see us at PureFinancial.com.

For more useful information about social security, click to download our free handbook.