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A closer look at debt collection and Social Security benefits

The unfortunate reality for many people is that when they accumulate large amounts of debt despite their best efforts, it's only a matter of time before debt collectors will start calling or even pursue the matter in court.

In these situations, it's only natural for people to have real concerns about whether debt collectors can come after certain types of income. This is especially true for those disabled individuals who rely on either Supplemental Security Income benefits or Social Security disability benefits to help make ends meet.

According to legal experts, the answer as to whether debt collectors can come after these two types of Social Security benefits depends largely upon the type of debt owed.

In general, SSI benefits are awarded to those people suffering from a disability that has left them unable to work but who are otherwise lacking the significant work history needed to qualify for SSD benefits.

The good news, say experts, is that SSI benefits cannot be garnished by any party -- including the federal government -- under any circumstances.

The situation is a bit more complicated concerning SSD benefits, which are awarded to disabled individuals who have paid money into the system via Social Security taxes.

Experts indicate that unlike SSI benefits, SSD benefits are not entirely immune from debt collectors. Specifically, while judgment creditors cannot come after SSD benefits, the federal government can come after them under certain circumstances.

For instance, the feds are able to garnish SSD benefits for everything from overdue taxes and delinquent federal student loan payments to overpayments made by federal agencies and child support arrears.

While all of this might come as something of a surprise -- or even a scare -- it's still important for those receiving any form of Social Security benefits to take comfort in the fact that their much-needed income is indeed insulated from many creditors.

Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more about your eligibility for SSI benefits or SSD benefits.

Source: Credit.com, "Can a debt collector come after my Social Security?" Gerri Detweiler, May 23, 2014 

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