Ask The Get Out of Debt Experts Sallie Mae Student Loans

Can Sallie Mae Garnish Wages and Tax Our Tax Refund Without Going to Court? – Kristen

Written by Steve Rhode

“Dear Steve,

My husband and I live in West Virginia, and my husband went back to school to get his Master’s Degree in Media Studies (because he really wants a career in Film). He got his student loan through Sallie Mae.

Anyway, he works for the state and isn’t paid what he’s worth. I’m currently unemployed, because we only have one car and public transportation around here is dicey at best. Recently, his mother called him and told him that Sallie Mae was threatening to start garnishing wages (even after submitting an income sensitive form to them a couple years ago) and even going as far as threatening to take our tax refund.

The thing is, we were going to be using part of that refund to buy a camera, so we could start supplementing our income, so we could start paying back the loan as well as try to improve our quality of life, and start working towards having a family of our own.

I’m just so scared that this is going to ruin everything.

Can they just start garnishing your wages (or take your tax refund) without suing first?


Dear Kristen,


They can administratively garnish his wages without going to court. It’s one of the pitfalls of student loan debt.

You should closely work with the student loan servicing company and see if there is a plan that will allow you to make an affordable payment.

It sounds like you have been somewhat out of touch with them.

If you can’t work something out you might have to consider a chapter 13 bankruptcy to prevent them from garnishing his wages but that will not eliminate the debt. You can click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney you can talk to for free.

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

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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.

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