Can Workers Comp Be Garnished?

Garnishment enables the employer to keep some of your pay, so they can send it directly to a creditor. When you get injured at work (or develop an occupational illness) you should file for workers compensation benefits. When you file a workers compensation claim, your medical bills will be paid to your health providers. Vocational rehabilitation costs are directly paid to teaching and related providers and can’t be garnished since they are already paid.

But what happens with the weekly wage replacement part of your workers comp benefits? The compensation that should help you if you had a temporary, partial, or complete disability cannot be garnished, at least generally speaking. However, your workers comp benefits or workers compensation settlement may be garnished if you have unpaid child support obligations.

If you’re facing a workplace injury and want to be sure that things are working out for you, or are facing a certain problem, it’s best to seek legal help from an Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney.

Can Creditors Garnish Workers Compensation Benefits?

In Georgia, workers comp benefits are generally protected from wage garnishment by creditors due to federal laws like the Consumer Credit Protection Act and Georgia workers’ comp laws. However, these benefits can be garnished for unpaid child support.

Recipients must seek legal advice to navigate these exceptions and ensure their rights and benefits are fully protected. Consulting with a knowledgeable attorney can provide clarity and help prevent unauthorized garnishments.

Federal Wage Garnishment Protection in Workers’ Comp Case

The Consumer Credit Protection Act guards different types of income from garnishment from creditors. One of these types is workers’ compensation. Also, Social Security Disability Insurance income and unemployment benefits are protected from garnishment by creditors.

Why workers’ compensation benefits are protected from garnishments is a good question. The simple answer is that these benefits are meant to replace lost wages. This money is paid because of a workplace injury (no matter if it was the workers’ fault or not).

The workers’ compensation law is designed to limit lawsuits which is why injured employees are giving up their rights of full wage loss (workers usually get 66-10% of their weekly wages) and their right to payment for pain and suffering. If an injured worker had those extra compensation amounts, they would have more funds to pay creditors.

How Much of Workers Compensation Can Be Garnished?

The CCPA limits the amount of disposable earnings subject to garnishment. Seventy-five percent of a debtor’s disposable wages are protected from garnishment by the Consumer Credit Protection Act. Disposable earnings are usually the amount left after FICA taxes are removed.

The federal law determines that up to 25% of your disposable income or anything you earn that passes 30% of the federal minimum wage could be garnished. Georgia law follows these same limits.

Workers Compensation Garnished for Child Support

Wage Garnishment and Child Support Obligations in Georgia

Georgia law doesn’t allow some types of income and property to be taken from you to pay debts. These exemptions generally include workers compensation, unemployment benefits, and Social Security benefits. Under Georgia Code § 34-9-84, workers comp benefits and a workers compensation settlement are generally protected from being garnished by creditors.

However, there are exceptions to these exemptions. If you are a noncustodial parent who owes unpaid child support, there is a chance that some of your money from workers comp benefits or your settlement payment will go towards the back payments. Once your child support obligations are fulfilled, the court order for garnishment will end.

Get an Atlanta Workers’ Comp Lawyer

If you are an injured worker you will deal with many challenges and stressful moments. The recovery itself can be a challenge, then the high medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses that you’re facing because of a work-related injury. Collecting your workers’ compensation can be a frustrating process.

You shouldn’t worry about these benefits, whether you’ll get them, or if creditors will take some of the workers comp settlement (for whatever reason they need it).

If you fear that this might happen, or have questions about workers’ compensation benefits, it’s best to an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer. Not everyone knows how to deal with legal matters especially during their most vulnerable period of recovery.

Call Us Today for a Free Consultation!

Our team at the Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Coalition has extensive experience with workers compensation cases. We are here to help you maximize your weekly workers comp benefits or negotiate a lump sum workers compensation settlement.

We know how challenging it is for injured workers to deal with money during this period, especially if they have serious injuries that are threatening to change their lives forever. No matter your diagnosis, or whether you have a temporary or permanent disability, it’s important that you get the workers compensation settlement so you can function properly.

Medical bills are never low, and let’s not forget the stress the injury brings, aligned with the worries and stress from missing work and losing wages, fearing that you might not have the full strength to work the same work again.

Our team has a history of working on all types of workers’ injuries including traumatic brain injuries, amputations, occupational diseases, burn injuries, workplace fatalities, and so on. You and your family deserve to get the settlement that will allow you to stand back on your feet again. Call our office and schedule your first free case evaluation.