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Garnish Military Pension

Mark Cappel
UpdatedApr 19, 2024
Key Takeaways:
  • Judgment-creditors cannot, generally speaking, garnish VA benefits or military pensions.
  • Administrative garnishment for child or spousal support may be allowed.

Can my military pension or VA benefits be garnished?

I have a car that has been repossessed. They say that i owe the remaining balance of $8,000. I lost my job. They say they can garnish my wages and I am retired from the military. They say they can take my military check. Is this true?

Generally speaking, VA benefits and military pensions are not subject to execution, levy, attachment, garnishment, or other legal process. However, there are exceptions for child support and support of divorced spouses.

Active military and other federal employees are subject to garnishment for what the federal government calls "commercial debt." However, I can find no laws that allow garnishment of military pensions or VA benefits, aside from the IRS’ authority to do so.

Direct-deposit your pension benefits into a separate account that contains funds from no other sources. Ask your bank or credit union to place a notation on that account stating the funds in that account are pension benefits not subject to attachment.

See the resource Military Debt Consolidation to learn how to resolve debt if you are an active service member.

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



Did you know?

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 Q4 2023 was $17.503 trillion. Auto loan debt was $1.607 trillion and credit card was $1.129 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%.

The amount of debt and debt in collections vary by state. For example, in Virginia, 25% have any kind of debt in collections and the median debt in collections is $1647. Medical debt is common and 14% have that in collections. The median medical debt in collections is $690.

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.



JJames, Sep, 2011
Can the military PX known as Army Airforce Exchange System garnish my tax refund if I am no longer in the military and became retired?
BBill, Sep, 2011
My experience with military justice is nil, and my study of it is slight. Consult with a JAG to learn more about your liability for PX-related debt, and what, if any, administrative action the PX can take to garnish your military pension or IRS tax return.
SStephen, Feb, 2012
If you have a military exchange account, ie Military Star, and are retired military. If you do not do any payments for awhile, about 4 months, the military exchange can and will do an allotment thru defense finance to force payment and defense finance will deduction a fair amount to pay the military exchange store. Your pension will be reduced that amount until your past due amount is paid up. I know that military exchange and will do that because it happened to me with my military pension. I am retired from the US Navy is why i know and experienced this.