Protecting Consumers in Georgia.

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Debt collectors can seize your stimulus money via bank garnishment!

Many people in this country are anxiously waiting for their badly needed stimulus money from the federal government to hit their bank accounts. Debt collectors are also waiting for the same thing! If there is an outstanding judgment issued against you, a judgment holder/creditor may file a bank garnishment to seize the funds in your bank account. At this time, there are no federal laws nor any Georgia laws protecting your federal stimulus money from debt collectors.

Federal law protects some funds from debt collector garnishments such as social security benefits, disability, benefits, and certain retirement benefits. However, this does not mean that a debt collector won’t file a bank garnishment to try to take the funds from the account.

Click here for a list of funds “exempt” from garnishment.

Debt collectors don’t just get a percentage of the money in the bank account they garnish – they get it all! (up to the amount of the judgment plus costs).

In Georgia, a bank account garnishment is considered a “one-shot” garnishment. This means that the debt collector gets one shot at the money in the bank account for each bank account garnishment it files. (But a debt collector could keep filing bank account garnishments). Under Georgia law, a bank account garnishment will seize the money that is in the bank account on the day the garnishment is served on the bank and any money that is deposited into that account until five days thereafter. During that five day period, any money already in your bank account will be frozen and so will any money you put into that bank account (i.e. direct deposits). Once that five day period is up, the bank sends all the money it collected from your bank account for that five day period to the court where the bank garnishment was filed. If the debt collector wants to seize more money from your account outside that five day period, they have to file a new garnishment case.

Bank garnishments are different from wage garnishments

In Georgia, a debt collector can use a bank account garnishment to take ALL the funds in your bank account up to the amount of the judgment plus costs. This is significantly different from a wage garnishment that is served on your employer because with a wage garnishment, the amount of money withheld from your paycheck is only a certain percentage of your pay (usually 25%). In addition, a wage garnishment lasts 180 days and the bank garnishment lasts only five days.

How will I know if a garnishment has been filed against me?

Whether its a wage garnishment or a bank account garnishment, you will likely find out that the garnishment has happened after you discover your bank account frozen or the funds are withheld from your check. In Georgia, generally, a debt collector does not have to warn you in advance that it is going to file a garnishment to collect on a judgment. However, debt collectors do have some responsibilities under Georgia law to send you notification of the garnishment within a certain period of days after the garnishment is served on the bank or the employer.

How can I protect my stimulus money from debt collectors?

If you receive a paper check from the government rather than the direct deposit, this gives you the option to simply cash the check rather than deposit the money into a bank account. If you are receiving a direct deposit of the money into your bank account, do not let it sit in their long! Just like you, the debt collector isn’t sure exactly when the direct deposit is going to occur. You should check your bank account every day and be aware of when the money is deposited. The longer it sits there in the bank account, the more vulnerable it is to a debt collector filing a garnishment action during the time in which you have all that money sitting there. Even if you transfer it to savings, it’s still vulnerable to garnishments. Many people rely on having bank accounts to pay their bills but you also have the option to transfer money onto prepaid cards, which you can use just like a regular debit or credit card to make online payments.

Jill Sandt

I am an attorney in Georgia focused on helping people fight debt-collection lawsuits.


Read about my client's experiences.

Google Reviews

It was my pleasure dealing with Jill. She was professional and kept me informed every step of the way. She corresponded with me in a way I could understand. The fees she charged for her services were more than reasonable. I could not have asked for a better or more professional attorney to handle my case. The silver lining we got the best results possible! I was more than pleased and would choose her again in a minute to handle any case of this nature!

Mrs. Treadwell

Avvo Attorney Reviews

I was sued by a debt buyer that I did not believe properly owned the debt based on the documents submitted to the court. I initially responded but decided to pursue a professional to defend me. I came across a video with Attorney Sandt describing her experience with a debt collector and her passion for helping others. I contacted her and she was very supportive, non-judgmental and transparent about the process. She took on my case and it was eventually settled in my favor. If you are in a similar situation, I would definitely recommend Attorney Sandt!


Google Reviews

There is a simple reason for Jill's stellar 5-star track record. Jill is an excellent attorney who advocates for her clients. Plus, she is a genuinely nice person! Jill was extremely professional, knowledgeable in her area of expertise, compassionate, and tenacious with our business and personal consumer debt cases. We encountered unexpected twists and turns caused by the plaintiff's representation. However, Jill handled each instance and/or delay beautifully and ensured that we fully understood what was transpiring. Both cases were resolved very satisfactorily and we are extremely pleased with the outcome. We highly recommend Jill Sandt to anyone in need of an experienced consumer protection attorney.

Mrs. Ridley

Google Reviews

Ms. Sandt dispatched my legal issue with efficiency and with a quickness we did not anticipate. She stayed in contact during the process and explained everything so that I could understand. Highly recommend!


Avvo Attorney Reviews

Jill turned what was an unsettling experience into a great experience. She’s compassionate, and extremely thorough. She explained things every step of the way. Very pleased with the outcome of my case.


Avvo Attorney Reviews

Hiring Jill Sandt as my lawyer has been one of the best financial decisions I’ve made recently. She thoroughly researched information related to my case, and she went above and beyond for me. She achieved results that I didn’t think were possible. These amazing results were also accomplished much quicker than I anticipated. I 100% recommend using Jill Sand of Sandt Law LLC as your lawyer if you need any type of assistance when dealing with a debt collector. She is completely worth it!