Administrative Wage Garnishment of Head of Household Debtor

A client called me for assistance dissolving a garnishment of his wages on the grounds that he is head of household in Florida. Florida statutes provide that creditors may not garnish wages of a Florida debtor who is head of household. The garnishment was initiated by a collection agent who had purchased a judgment in favor of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

The head of household exemption does not protect Florida debtors against wage garnishment to collect a judgment owed to the SBA. Federal law gives the SBA or its assigns the right to administrative wage garnishments. Administrative garnishments are federal remedies that are not governed by state law. The SBA and other federal agencies can use administrative garnishments to collect up to 15% of a debtors take-home earnings. The administrative garnishment is not inhibited by any state law or any state exemptions.

This is another example of a federal agency having collection powers greater than private judgment creditors in state court collection proceedings. .

Last updated on May 22, 2020

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