A young attorney practicing in northern Florida wrote me to say that his wages were being garnished by the Department of Education to collect his law school student loans. The Department had not filed suit to collect the loan. He wants to know how they can garnish his wages without having procured first a money judgment and writ of garnishment issued by a Florida court.
I wrote about this issue in a blog post in 2006. The law has not changed since. Federal law provides for “administrative wage garnishments” to collect defaulted student loans. The creditor may garnish up to 15% of wages. The amount is less than the 25% maximum garnishment to collect money judgments pursuant to federal debt collection laws.
The administrative wage garnishment supercede all state law exemptions. Therefore, while Florida law provides that head of household may not have wages garnished to collect a ordinary money judgment administrative garnishments may be enforced against those debtors eligible for the head of household exemption.
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