Disability Income And Debt

MoneyTips

By Eric Olsen, Executive Director, HELPS Nonprofit Law Firm

It’s a constant struggle to stay afloat financially on disability income. Many disabled persons have credit card debt they can’t pay, often incurred before they were disabled. What can disabled persons do about telephone calls and letters from collectors? What happens if you are sued? As the Executive Director of HELPS, a nationwide nonprofit law firm that protects seniors and disabled persons from unwanted collector contact, I’d like to answer some of the pressing financial questions we regularly hear from disabled persons.

1.How safe is disability income from collectors?

The most important thing to know is that Social Security in all its forms, including SSD, is protected by federal law from debt collectors. Almost all states have laws that protect private disability as well. Even if a creditor files a lawsuit and obtains a judgment, they can’t take…

Can The IRS Or Student Loan Creditors Garnish My Social Security?

MoneyTips

By Eric Olsen, Executive Director, HELPS Nonprofit Law Firm

Federal law protects Social Security and retirement incomes from garnishment by almost all collectors. But what about the IRS and student loan debts? The IRS and public student loan lenders can and occasionally will garnish 15% of a senior’s Social Security income. There is much information on the Internet scaring seniors about this practice, but very little information discussing how a garnishment of Social Security for taxes or student loans can be prevented or stopped.

It is not the general practices of the IRS or student loan collectors to garnish other forms of retirement such as pensions or VA benefits. State tax collectors and private student loan collectors cannot garnish Social Security or seniors’ other retirement income. The IRS or a public student loan collector must notify seniors in advance by mail before garnishing their Social Security benefits. Seniors often think they have n…

Only 1 Out Of 7 Monitors Their Social Security Number Online

MoneyTips

Do you monitor your Social Security number for any signs of fraudulent use? A new survey suggests you think that you should, but you probably don’t.

According to the 2018 Capital One Credit Protection and Security Survey, only one in seven Americans uses a service to monitor activity on their Social Security number – but just over half of Americans who don’t use a monitoring service think they should use one.

Why is Social Security monitoring so important? Your Social Security number is your most important and most often-used identifier. Criminals can use your Social Security number to apply for credit in your name. Without monitoring services, you may not realize your Social Security number has been abused until you’re confronted with major unpaid bills and ruined credit.

Because of their versatility in identity theft scams, Social Security numbers are highly prized pieces of information. Depending on what other information criminals have on you, your …