If I only make $550 a month how much money can the bank garnish from my check?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If I only make $550 a month how much money can the bank garnish from my check?

About 5years ago I got caught up in a secret shopper scam where I cashed 2 checks totaling $9800. Since then I’ve paid about $3000 back. Now I’m only working part-time and I’m making $12 hour; working another job is really not an option because I’m taking care of my sick mother and I’m also a student. I can’t afford to live with my check being garnished.

Asked on July 2, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, New Mexico

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation.  I am assuming that what you are paying back is restitution that came along with the conviction.  If you are not able to pay back the amount per month that the court has set then I might consider seeing if you can request that the amount be temporarily reduced given the circumstances. That is so much better than wage garnishment.  In New Mexico it is my understanding that a creditor can garnish up to 25% of disposable income. (A total of 25% of disposable income, no matter how many creditors or attempted garnishments there are.) For this purpose, “disposable income” is narrowly defined: income left over after legally required deductions from a person’s paycheck (e.g. FICA; unemployment contributions; state employee retirement contributions) are taken out.  Deductions that are not mandated by law, including such important ones as health insurance, 401(k) contributions, or union dues, are not considered in calculating disposable income. There is additional protection for lower-income residents. No matter what, a debtor’s weekly income can only be garnished to the extent it exceeds 40 times the minimum wage; i.e. in order to allow the debtor at least something to live on, he or she gets to keep the equivalent of working at least 40 hours a week at minimum wage.

So what can be garnished is the lesser of the amount by which debtor’s weekly wage exceeds 40 times minimum wage OR 25% of the debtor’s disposable income. Good luck to you.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The lesser of the two following could be garnished:

1) 25% of your disposable income, which is your income after mandatory deducations, like withholding for FICA (but not including 401k or health care deductions);

2) The amount by which your weekly earnings exceed 40 times the federal minimum wage, which is currently, I believe, $7.75.

You say you work part-time. Since 40 times $7.75 is $308, if you work 25 or fewer hours per week at $12 per hour, it would seem that you could likely have nothing garnished. From what you write, you are well under that threshold (you're probably working around 10 - 12 hours per week), so the bank should not be able to garnish your income. 


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption