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Can Student Loans Garnish Both My Wages and Social Security at the Same Time? – Ross

“Dear Steve,

Student loans totalling approx. $24,000 defaulted in 1993 and wages were garnished. I left that employer and tax return overpayments were taken.

I am now 62yrs old and working part time for a large do it yourself retailer. After I started, more than a year ago, my wages were garnished at 15%. I recently resigned and was rehired at another store of the same employer within 6wks. I also just started taking early retirement Social Security benefits this month.

1) I do not know if my garnishment with my employer is still in effect.
2) I was notified today that my social security may be garnished at 15%.

Can they garnish both my wages and social security benefits at the same time??


Dear Ross,

It is my understanding they can’t garnish both and that the limit on garnishments applies to total income. If you want the garnishment to not come from your social security it would be in your best interest to contact them proactively and get the garnishment going on your income from the employer. Otherwise I would imagine that once they start garnishing your social security they won’t let go of that.

Remember, only federally backed student loans can garnish social security, not private student loans.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

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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.

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