Q. I’ve just received a large civil penalty from a state. Can they garnish my Social Security benefit when I become eligible for that benefit?

A. It all depends. Section 407 of the Social Security Act states that “none of the moneys paid or payable under this subchapter shall be subject to execution, levy, attachment, garnishment or other legal process.” However, there are exceptions, such as the collection of delinquent federal taxes or delinquent child support. You should consult an attorney who can determine if your benefit can be garnished.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

Leave A Reply