Judicial Clerk, The Honorable Berle M. Schiller, Federal Judiciary, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Because Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are essential to meet basic needs, the Social Security Act protects the benefits from garnishment or attachment by creditors. Nevertheless, when benefits are deposited in a bank account, beneficiaries may find that their accounts have been temporarily frozen, or worse, permanently garnished at the behest of a creditor under provisions of state law. Because the government encourages direct deposit, over 80 percent of Social Security and SSI recipients receive their benefits electronically. Safer than the Mattress: A Policy to Ensure that Social Security and Other Exempt Federal Benefits Remain Safe From Garnishment, Attachment, and Freezes when Deposited in a Bank Account proposes a five-part legislative and administrative policy solution to ensure that Social Security and other exempt federal benefits remain safe from garnishment, attachment, and freezes when they are deposited in a bank.