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Florida Judgment

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UpdatedJul 16, 2024
Key Takeaways:
  • Pension and Social Security benefits are immune from garnishment.
  • Florida's judgment rules are consumer friendly.
  • See the Florida Collection laws page to learn more.

I have $120,000 in credit card debt. My income is from Social Security and a state retirement plan. Should I worry about judgments?

I have more than $120,000 in credit card debt. My income is from Social Security and a Florida state retirement plan, no other income. Both are exempt from garnishment because I live in Florida. CC companies (9 of them) won't work with me so they will be suing me shortly. What happens when the judgements start coming in? Will it be pay one judgement at time, like 1st come 1st serve? Is it 25% of my disposable income? AND what happens if I don't pay the monthly judgement amount?

Excluding child support, creditors cannot touch Social Security and pension benefits if they are deposited into an account that is not intermingled with funds from other sources.

Create a separate, new bank or credit union account that contains no funds. Ask the bank or credit union to add a notation that reads something like, "Funds sourced from Social Security and pension only. Do not garnish." Different financial institutions may have different notations that mean the same thing. If the teller seems confused by your request, ask to speak to the branch manager.

Your other accounts are fair game for attachment/levy/account garnishment. Those three terms mean the same thing — open to seizure if the judgment-creditor gets an order to do so. Resist the urge to dump all of your funds into the Social Security and pension account. Tainting that account with non-pension and Social Security money opens it up to levy.

If the judgment creditors cannot get a wage garnishment because you have no wages, place a lien on your home because that is not allowed in Florida, or levy your pension and Social Security account, then the judgment creditors have exhausted all means to collect from you. The judgments will remain on file for the statutory time allowed, and then expire.

See the resource Florida Collection Laws to learn more about the specific laws in your state. Consult with a Florida attorney to learn more about your rights and liabilities.

I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.



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Dealing with debt

Debt is used to buy a home, pay for bills, buy a car, or pay for a college education. According to the NY Federal Reserve total household debt as of Q1 2024 was $17.69 trillion. Auto loan debt was $1.62 trillion and credit card was $1.12 trillion.

According to data gathered by from a sample of credit reports, about 26% of people in the US have some kind of debt in collections. The median debt in collections is $1,739. Student loans and auto loans are common types of debt. Of people holding student debt, approximately 10% had student loans in collections. The national Auto/Retail debt delinquency rate was 4%.

Collection and delinquency rates vary by state. For example, in Idaho, 14% have student loan debt. Of those holding student loan debt, 6% are in default. Auto/retail loan delinquency rate is 3%.

Avoiding collections isn’t always possible. A sudden loss of employment, death in the family, or sickness can lead to financial hardship. Fortunately, there are many ways to deal with debt including an aggressive payment plan, debt consolidation loan, or a negotiated settlement.



MMelanie, May, 2013
I am 20 months into a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and have received permission to purchase a home. I've applied for an FHA loan and the only snag has been a judgment that appears on my credit report. The judgment creditor was named in the BK and properly noticed, but did not file a claim. They are listed in the bankruptcy as such. However, since they are not listed in the Claims filed the lender can't seem to recognize them as part of the bankruptcy. How can I possibly fix this?
BBill, May, 2013
Consult with your bankruptcy lawyer about this issue. He or she may need to send an affidavit to the lender indicating what you shared in your comment. He or she will probably also need to share a copy of your chapter 13 filing that shows you listed the recalcitrant lender in your bankruptcy schedules.
FFred, Jan, 2012
I also have income solely from pensions and SS and IRA's. I am now required to take RMD payments from my IRA plans. Currently they are deposited in a checking account. Can I have them deposited in a growth fund of some sort and still be protected from garnishment? I have an active judgment against me.
BBill, Jan, 2012
Once you move your funds out of your IRA account, they may be subject to a bank levy. I recommend that you speak with a lawyer who can give you advice regarding the best way to protect your assets.