Once a court has issued a writ of garnishment, a collection agency can directly take money from your wages, bank accounts, or certain other sources of income.
If you earn less than these amounts, none of your wages can be garnished:
- $253.75 weekly
- $507.50 every 2 weeks
- $549.80 twice a month
- $1,099.58 monthly
Even if you earn more than these amounts, you may still keep 35x the federal minimum wage or 75% of your net pay, whichever is more.
At a minimum, $500 in your bank account cannot be garnished ($500 is considered “exempt”) and $1,000 additional cash is exempt, for a total of $1,500).
If your bank account is garnished leaving you with less than $1,500, you may file an exemption claim within 21 days of the date of the first garnishment. See How to Claim Personal Property Exemptions.
If your wages or bank account are garnished, the court usually cannot pull that ticket from collections. You can try to work out a payment plan with the collection agency. If you have a low income, apply for legal help (see below.)