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Can the Collection Agency Garnish My Unemployment? – Andrea

“Dear Steve,

I was laid off in January 2009 and I am currently receiving an unempolyment check of $247.00 weekly from the state of North Carolina plus the federal unemployment COLA of $25.00. Both these checks are directly deposited to my checking account. These checks barely cover rent, food and gas.

This area of North Carolina has one of the highest unemplyment rates in the U.S. plus I’m 50+ and I’m not anticipating getting a great job any where in the near future.

Unfortunately I also owe thousands of dollars of unsecured debts to creditors. I am not even able to save up enough money to pay a lawyer to file for bancruptcy. All these debts have gone into collections. I’ve called alll these debt collection agencies and to my surprise, most are actually sympathetic to my plight and some have actually given me advice.

Of course they have their job to do, but I think the current economic condition fosters a “there, but for the grace of God, go I” mentality. I have informed them all all that I cannot pay anything and that I’ll be filing for bankruptcy when I can afford to do so. I have no assets except a 2003 Kia that has been in two accidents. I’ve even had to sell most of my gold jewelry just to survive.

Can these private debt collection agencies garnishee my unemloyment check or checking account. If any one of them does, I will end up homeless and hungry (no exaggeration). What options are available to me? I wish I could pay these off especially because of the substantial discounted payoffs that have been offered, but that is not a viable option. Every penny counts right now.


Dear Andrea,

Would I wrong to guess you live in the Rocky Mount region of North Carolina?

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Unemployment benefits can’t be garnished.

With your current situation you might want to contact one of these providers of free bankruptcy assistance.

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If you have not tried it yet, the North Carolina job bank has an excellent site.

Other than that it sounds like you are doing as well as could be expected in making it through this financial storm.

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.

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P.S. Be sure to read ‘The Secret of Surviving Through Difficult Economic Times. What I Learned On My Journey‘.

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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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