During the difficult economic years after the global property crash, experts estimated that as many as one in every ten Americans were having their wages garnished. Many of those garnishments consisted of debts owed to federal government agencies.
With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, we find ourselves in dire economic straits once again. Many millions of Americans find themselves out of work and are likely to experience difficulties paying their debts in the near future including debts to the SBA, for student loans and other government owed debts.
In view of this, garnishment might once again become a pressing issue in the times ahead.
Read on to learn more about wage garnishment and the circumstances in which you should hire a wage garnishment attorney.
What Is An Administrative Wage Garnishment?
If you fall behind in the repayment of debts, certain federal agencies can place a restriction on your wages. This allows them to repossess a certain percentage of your earnings and redirect it toward the payment of your debts.
In order for your wages to be garnished, the government must give you notice and an opportunity for hearing.
It falls to your employer to restrict your earnings. However, once an order directs them to do so, they have no power to refuse. Their role exists merely to execute the order as the court formulates it.
At What Stage Does Wage Garnishment Become a Possibility?
Once you receive a letter in the mail warning you of an upcoming administrative wage garnishment, you only have a a limited amount of time to request a hearing. If you fail to submit your request timely, an order will go to your employer requiring them to garnish your wages.
What Kinds of Debts Can Give Rise to Wage Garnishment?
Any debt owed to a federal agency can result in an administrative wage garnishment.
As such, these debts include debts owed to the SBA, the USDA, the VA, HUD and federal student loans.
How Can I Challenge Wage Garnishment?
If you think you have grounds to challenge your administrative wage garnishment, you should look to hire a good wage garnishment attorney without delay.
If you go to hearing, a number of defenses exist. You could dispute the amount of the debt or even its very existence.
You might also be able to persuade the hearing officer that wage garnishment would impose such financial hardship on you that it would be an unjust step to take. This will be more likely to work if you have a dependent family.
The Notice Letter
As stated, the government must send a notice letter. The first step requires you to submit your hearing request timely.
As noted above, wage garnishment can be financially devastating. In order to prove you do not owe the debt, you must obtain records from the government agency. To that end, an experienced attorney will know how to obtain records for your defense.
If you successfully file for bankruptcy, this will usually put a stop to any garnishment that is deducting amounts from your wages. However, this is an extreme step, and it is not recommended that you consider bankruptcy unless all other viable options have been exhausted.
What to Look for in an Administrative Wage Garnishment Attorney
If you've decided to hire an attorney to address your wage garnishment problems, you'll need to know what qualities to look for.
The first thing any lawyer needs is experience. No matter how much an attorney knows about the law, they cannot be trusted to return a good result for you unless they have extensive courtroom experience.
However, general experience will not suffice. Wage garnishment is quite a niche area of the law, and it can present unique situations and challenges.
To be sure that your case will be handled with the utmost professionalism, you'll need a practitioner with ample experience in wage garnishment actions. This is exactly what our attorneys can offer you. Protect Law Group has handled many such cases.
Maintaining Control Over Your Financial Affairs
Having your wages garnished can be a frustrating and frightening experience. Nobody likes to feel that they're not in control of their financial affairs.
However, if you hire a wage garnishment attorney, you can give yourself the breathing space to sort out your affairs in your own time.
If you'd like to inquire about the services we provide, contact us today.