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Garnishments

A garnishment is a legal action that is filed against the garnishee, usually the employer or financial institution, to collect on a judgement against a debtor. The garnishee is a person or business entity that owes funds to the judgment debtor or is holding funds on behalf of the judgment debtor. There are two basic types of garnishments: a Summons of Garnishment and Continuing Garnishment.  A Summons of Garnishment is used primarily for garnishing a bank account or other financial institution.  A Continuing Garnishment is used solely for garnishing wages.

If you are filing a Garnishment claim, please be certain to include a copy of your Judgment and/or Fi. Fa. to your Summons.  If you need forms, they may be obtained by clicking this link: Garnishment Forms or from the Magistrate Clerks’ Office.

Most of the time, if you are looking to attach an amount of money in a bank or credit union, or take money that is being held for a defendant in a case, the process is a Summons of Garnishment. This is the process used against a bank, credit union, etc. *There are several exemptions (moneys that are not available for garnishment) under Federal and State laws. Consult an attorney for specifics. A partial list may be available from the Magistrate Court clerks’ office.  See below for a partial list of possible funds which are exempt from Garnishment.

Garnishments are filed in the County where the garnishee is physically located.

PARTIAL LIST OF POSSIBLE FUNDS EXEMPT FROM GARNISHMENT

DISCLAIMER:  This list may or may not be all-inclusive, and is provided only to bring awareness that exemptions and exclusions may apply.  Should you have any questions regarding the garnishment process, procedures or exemptions, please consult with an attorney or otherwise educate yourself as the Court and its employees are prohibited from providing legal advice to any party to a suit.

  1. Disposable Earnings. OCGA §18-4-20 and 15 U.S.C. §1673.  Garnishment of earnings from employment is limited to 25% of disposable earnings for a week or the amount by which disposable earnings for a week exceed 30 times the federal minimum wage.  NOTE:  More money may be taken out of a paycheck for child support payments or if a Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides for a higher amount.
  2. Social Security Retirement, Social Security Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Survivor Benefits, 42 U.S.C. §407.
  3. Unemployment Benefits. OCGA §34-8-242.
  4. Workers’ Compensation. OCGA §39-9-84.
  5. Joint Account-holders. OCGA §7-1-812.  NOTE: Depending on the circumstances, such funds may or may not be subject to garnishment.
  6. Child Support. Richards v. Richards, 281 Ga. 285, 286 (2006); Stewart v. Stewart, 160 Ga. App. 463 (1981). In some cases, may exceed the usual 25% limit.
  7. Medicaid Payments. OCGA §49-4-147.
  8. Veterans Benefits including Military Pensions, Retirement Pay, Disability Payments. 38 U.S.C. §5301.
  9. Veterans Survivor Annuities. 10 U.S.C. §1450.
  10. Federal Student Loans, Grants, and Work Assistance. 20 U.S.C. §1095a.
  11. ERISA Qualified Retirement & Pension Benefits – 401(k), IRA, & Employer Provided Pensions. OCGA §18-4-22.
  12. Crime Victim Compensation Funds. OCGA §17-15-8.
  13. Wages Due to a Deceased Employee of the State up to $2,500.00. OCGA §34-7-4.
  14. Accident, Sickness, or Disability Insurance Benefits up to $250.00/month during disability. OCGA §33-29-15.
  15. Benefits, Charity, Relief, or Aid From Fraternal Benefit Societies. OCGA §33-15-62.
  16. Cash Value/Benefits Payable to Life Insurance Policy Beneficiary. OCGA §33-25-11.
  17. Aid to the Blind. OCGA §49-4-58.
  18. Aid to the Disabled. OCGA §49-4-84.
  19. Old Age Assistance. OCGA §49-4-35.
  20. State Pension – State or Local Government Employees Under ERS. OCGA §47-2-332.
  21. State Pension – Municipal Employees Under Employee Retirement System. OCGA §47-5-71.
  22. State Pension – Teachers Retirement System. OCGA §47-4-120.
  23. State Pension – Public School Employees. OCGA §47-4-120.
  24. State Pension – Firefighters Retirement System. OCGA §47-7-122.
  25. State Pension – Members of the General Assembly Retirement System. OCGA §47-6-100.
  26. State Pension – District Attorney Retirement System. OCGA §47-12-101.
  27. State Pension – Superior Court Clerks Retirement System. OCGA §47-14-91.
  28. State Pension – Sheriff’s Retirement System. OCGA §47-16-122.
  29. State Pension – Peace Officers Retirement System. OCGA §47-17-103.
  30. State Pension – Judicial System Employees Retirement System. OCGA §47-23-121.
  31. State Pension – Probate Judges Retirement System. OCGA §47-11-91.
  32. State Pension – Magistrate Court Retirement System. OCGA §47-24-101.
  33. FEMA Disaster Assistance to Individuals and Households. 44 CFR § 206.110(g).
  34. Federal Workers Compensation. 5 U.S.C. §8130.
  35. Federal Employee Thrift Savings Plan. 5 U.S.C. §8437(e)(2).
  36. Federal Judges Survivor Annuities. 26. U.S.C. §7448.
  37. Veterans Appeals Court Survivor Annuities. 28 U.S.C. §7297.
  38. Federal Civil Service Survivor Annuities. 5 U.S.C. §8346.
  39. Railroad Retirement Pensions, Annuities, and Disability Benefits. 45 U.S.C. §231m.
  40. Railroad Unemployment and Sickness Benefits. 45 U.S.C. §1717.
  41. Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Benefits. 33 U.S.C. §916.
  42. Merchant Seamen Wages and Benefits. 46 U.S.C. §11109.
  43. Compensation for Injury/Death of U.S. Contractor Outside U.S.. 42 U.S.C. §1717.
  44. Money Held by Receivers Appointed by the Court.  OCGA §9-8-12.