Administration bars courts from garnishing federal benefits

The final rule, scheduled to publish in Wednesday’s Federal Register, melds the efforts of six regulators to protect income benefits including Social Security payments, Veterans Affairs benefits and federal employee retirement benefits, among others.

If a person who collects the listed benefits faces a wage garnishing order from a court – with the exception of child support claims – a bank must look back two months into the individual's account and tally up the “protected” federal benefits. Those wages are not subject to seizure, the document says.

The Department of the Treasury, Social Security Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, Railroad Retirement Board and Office of Personnel Management finalized the temporary rule, which has been in effect since 2011 and will become permanent 30 days after being published in the Federal Register.