Question from Cee Cee, Can I Legally Recover Withheld Social Security Disability Checks from a Bank in Michigan?
Answer from AI:
In general, Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are protected from garnishment by federal law. However, there are exceptions to this rule, and the specifics of your situation may require legal advice.
Protection of Social Security Benefits
Under federal law, Social Security benefits are generally exempt from garnishment, levy, or other legal process. This means that in most cases, a bank cannot withhold your SSD checks to cover a negative balance in your account. The Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 407(a), provides this protection.
However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, the federal government can garnish Social Security benefits for payment of child support, alimony, federal taxes, and other debts owed to federal agencies.
Banks have certain obligations when it comes to handling Social Security benefits. If a bank receives a garnishment order, it must review the account. If the account received a deposit from the Social Security Administration in the last two months, the bank must protect that amount from garnishment.
Steps to Recover Withheld Benefits
If you believe your SSD benefits have been improperly withheld, you can take the following steps:
- Contact your bank: Explain the situation and ask them to release the funds. If the bank refuses, you can escalate the issue to a manager or the bank’s corporate office.
- Contact the Social Security Administration: The SSA can provide information about your rights and may be able to assist in resolving the issue.
- Consult with a lawyer: If the bank continues to withhold your benefits, you may need to consult with a lawyer. A lawyer can provide advice based on your specific situation and may be able to assist in recovering your benefits.
The specifics of your situation may require legal advice. For example, if the bank is withholding your benefits to cover a debt, the legality of this action may depend on the nature of the debt. Additionally, if the bank cancelled your card without notice, this may be a violation of your rights under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act.
It is recommended that you consult with a legal professional for personalized advice. Legal aid organizations in Michigan may be able to provide free or low-cost assistance.
Please note that this information is a general explanation and may not apply to your specific situation. Always consult with a legal professional for advice.