- Wage garnishment is legal in Maryland.
- Unemployment benefits may not be garnished except for narrow circumstances.
- Maryland follows the federal wage garnishment limits.
What are the Maryland garnishment rules? Can the Comptroller of Maryland garnish my unemployment checks?
I have been paying back taxes for 4 years, but recently lost my job after 14 years. I receive Maryland unemployment benefits. Can the Comptroller of Maryland garnish my unemployment checks? I am leaving hand-to-mouth as is.
Wage garnishment is permitted under Maryland law. The District Court of Maryland offers an excellent document summarizing Maryland Wage Garnishment (PDF) rules.
Maryland follows the federal rules that limit the amount garnished to 25 percent of the debtor’s disposable income, or not less than an amount equal to 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage.
Unemployment benefits are not wages, and may not be garnished except for very narrow circumstances. These circumstances include child or spousal support, and generally not delinquent state taxes. However, that is the general rule, and Maryland may be an exception.
Call the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Division of Unemployment Insurance and ask the customer service representative about the state tax authority’s ability to garnish unemployment benefits. Call again later and ask the same question to a different customer service representative. If the two answers match, then you have an fair answer to your question.
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See the Bills.com article Maryland Collection Laws to learn more about other remedies collection agents and original creditors can use to collect debts from Maryland residents. The Bills.com Wage Garnishment article explains the federal wage garnishment rules.
I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.
Struggling with debt?
If you are struggling with debt, you are not alone. According to the NY Federal Reserve total household debt as of Quarter Q2 2022 was $16.15 trillion. Student loan debt was $1.59 trillion and credit card debt was $0.89 trillion.
A significant percentage of people in the US are struggling with monthly payments and about 26% of households in the United States have debt in collections. According to data gathered by Urban.org from a sample of credit reports, the median debt in collections is $1,739. Credit card debt is prevalent and 3% have delinquent or derogatory card debt. The median debt in collections is $422.
The amount of debt and debt in collections vary by state. For example, in Pennsylvania, 23% have any kind of debt in collections and the median debt in collections is $1657. Medical debt is common and 9% have that in collections. The median medical debt in collections is $500.
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.