Wage garnishments are challenging since a creditor has been given the right to get payment on monies you owe them by taking money directly from your paycheck before it is issued to you. Garnishments authorized by the government such as taxes, student loans and court-ordered child support payments do not require the assistance of the courts to be started. Your employer would be notified by the taxing authority to start sending them a portion of your paycheck and they would have to comply.
Understanding The Mechanics of Wage Garnishment
Before a creditor may ask for a wage garnishment, they must first file a lawsuit and ask the court to issue a judgment for them to collect what you owe. Keep in mind, under California law, the creditor may only take you to court within the first four years of the last payment that was made on an account. Should you receive an order to appear in court and more than four years has passed, you should speak with an attorney immediately to file a request to dismiss the suit. However, should less than four years have passed, the creditor does have a right to further request the court allow them to seek payment through wage garnishment.
Wage Garnishment and Job Security
Once a garnishment is in place, the creditor may receive a portion of your wages for as long as 10 years or until the amount of the judgment is satisfied. Your employer will automatically withhold these amounts and send them directly to the creditor. While you may not be fired from your job if you have one wage garnishment, there are protections in place for employers who fire an employee for having multiple garnishments. Keep in mind, any garnishment order requires specific bookkeeping on the part of your employer and can be very time-consuming.
Limits on California Wage Garnishment
Any wage garnishment order cannot leave an employee destitute. Therefore under California codes, wage garnishments may not exceed more than 25 percent of a worker’s disposable income for any given week or month. These amounts may be slightly higher if the debt involved current or child support in arrears. In addition, some income is excluded for purposes of wage garnishment.
What Income is Excluded From Wage Garnishment?
Because an employee who is dealing with wage garnishment still has to pay their day-to-day living expenses, there are certain classifications of income that cannot be used to meet a wage garnishment obligation. Some of these include:
- Social Security Disability Income
- Lump Sum Distribution From IRA Accounts
- Worker’s Compensation
- Other Disability Income
- Unemployment Compensation
When You Work With a Worker’s Compensation Attorney
There are a number of concerns that you are facing when you are injured on the job and one of the things that you may be contending with is a wage garnishment. As skilled worker’s compensation lawyers, The Appel Law Firm has experience helping injured workers with a number of issues including wage garnishments.
If you have been injured on the job or you are suffering work-related illness, contact The Appel Law Firm at 925-938-2000 immediately. We can help you when your employer is denying your claim, when you are facing retaliatory firing or if your wages are being garnished and you have been informed that your worker’s compensation benefits will be garnished as well. Under California laws, your worker’s compensation benefits cannot be garnished and we will help you fight for your full benefits regardless of the debt you owe. You have rights under California laws and we are here to ensure those rights are fully protected when you are collecting worker’s compensation.