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My Wages Were Garnished By Surprise. – Simona

“Dear Steve,

I have a hospital bill for my daughter which at the time my insurance was transitioning and when i contacted them they said my current insurance was effective and my new insurance hadnt kicked in. my insurance had already paid then requested a refund because a month or two later determined my eligibilty was inactive. therefore i gave the hospital my new insurance and they billed it. i had a large deductible and my bill was like $800. i havent been able to afford to pay it. The collection agency sent a court filing like 2 years ago and at the time i agreed to pay $30 a month. then my spouse lost part of his income and it became hard for me to continue to pay so we moved to az. cause colorado was to expensive to live. they phoned me in july and asked if i could make payment arrangements and i informed the lady i couldnt at the moment. she asked if i possibly could in 1 month i said i probably could then.

today I received my paycheck and and when i looked it up on the internet to find out why my check was short and it showed wage garnishment so i contacted my corporate and they gave me the information. i never received any letter or court documents stating that they were filing for wage garnishments. i was not notified by them or my corporate that they were taking the money out. can they legally do this without contacting you to let you know the wages will be garnished without your knowledge?


Dear Simona,

It sounds like with the move and all that you may not have updated your address with the old creditor. They probably sued you and notified you at the last mailing address they had for you.

It is an easy matter to chase down. You can ask your HR office for a copy of the garnishment order and that will have the case number on it or you could call the creditor and ask for information regarding the suit, judgment and garnishment.

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If you feel like the judgment is improper you can contact a local lawyer for assistance to have to overturned. But it doesn’t sound like you don’t owe the debt, just that the garnishment was an unfortunate surprise.

Please update me on your progress by posting updates here in the comments section of your question. I’m very interested in how this works out for you.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.


  • On the back of the Garnishment Order there should be a Claim of Exemption form. If you don’t fill that out, they’ll ask for the max under state law.

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