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Stop Wage Garnishment in Mississippi

Sarah Edwards | July 06, 2023

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Summary: Under Mississippi law, creditors can garnish your wages for up to 25% of your disposable earnings. Luckily, the law also gives you ways to stop wage garnishment once it’s started. Otherwise, you can avoid garnishment before it begins through debt settlement. SoloSettle makes the Mississippi debt settlement process easier.

Finding a way out can seem impossible when you’re up to your ears in debt. Where will you come up with the money to pay your bills? What will happen if you stop paying your creditors? Will your debts go away? Can your creditors do anything to make you pay them back?

These are all legitimate questions, and anyone who was ever unable to repay their creditors has likely asked them. Unfortunately, your creditors don’t go away if you stop paying your bills. Instead, they will probably increase their collection efforts and may even sue you.

If a creditor wins a lawsuit against you, you can look forward to a judgment and possible wage garnishment. In wage garnishment, your creditor will gain the right to take part of your income until you fully satisfy the debt. The portion of your paycheck seized will likely be higher than if you had stuck with your original payment arrangement.

Avoid wage garnishment through debt settlement.

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The wage garnishment limitations in Mississippi are harsh

The federal government sets national wage garnishment limits restricting the amount creditors can take from your income. Every state can choose whether to adopt the federal standards or implement a less strict amount.

Mississippi has adopted federal limitations for wage garnishment. Under Miss. Code § 85-3-4, creditors can withhold the lesser of:

  • Up to 25% of your weekly disposable earnings.
  • The amount your disposable weekly earnings exceed 30 times the federal minimum wage of $7.25 hourly.

However, consumers have a 30-day grace period from the time they receive official notification of the upcoming seizure.

Under Mississippi laws, disposable income is equal to earnings after required withdrawals, like taxes. Voluntary withdrawals for health insurance premiums and other common employer benefits are part of your disposable earnings.

Let’s consider an example of how wage garnishment works in Mississippi.

Example: Joey took out a credit card with Credit R Us to pay for $3,000 of pizzas. Unfortunately, he couldn’t keep up with his monthly payments after he lost his acting job on Days of Our Lives. Credit R Us sued Joey, and the judge awarded a judgment in its favor. Now, Credit R Us wants to garnish Joey’s wages. Joey earns $1,000 weekly in disposable income from his job as an actor in Tupelo. Per Mississippi laws, his employer must withhold $250 weekly, or 25% of his earnings, from Joey’s income until he repays the debt. That amount is lesser than the other alternative of $782.50, or $1,000 - (30 x $7.25). The garnishment will continue for twelve weeks. However, Joey has 30 days before the garnishment starts to pay off the debt and avoid losing part of his income.

Let’s consider another example to see how the law works when someone qualifies for the wage garnishment alternative.

Example: Monica has an old credit card with Farmer’s Bank that she forgot about. She used the credit card to buy $500 worth of cleaning supplies for her apartment. Farmer’s Bank sues Monica for the outstanding balance, and it wins a judgment. Now, Farmer’s Bank wants to garnish Monica’s wages. Monica takes home $230 weekly in disposable earnings from her job as a chef. Under Mississippi law, her creditor can garnish the lesser of 25% of her pay, which is $57.50, or $230 - (30 x $7.25), which is $12.50. Since the second alternative is lower, her employer will withhold $12.50 each week from Monica’s salary for 40 weeks unless she repays the debt sooner.

Don’t ignore a Mississippi debt lawsuit

Few people get excited about wage garnishment. Your creditor probably doesn’t want to sue you and go through lots of hassle to recover the money you owe. Your employer doesn’t want to deal with the administrative burden of withholding your pay and submitting it to a trustee.

And you don’t want to lose a big part of your income to garnishment — that will make it harder to afford things you need, like shelter and transportation.

Fortunately, you have options to avoid inflicting needless pain on everyone involved in the situation. You’ll need to start by responding to the debt lawsuit.

Every debt lawsuit begins with a Court Summons and a Complaint. In a Complaint, the creditor describes why it’s suing you. The complaint will list the amount you owe and additional details, like your account number and the debt’s age.

You should scrutinize the Complaint for mistakes before drafting your Answer. An Answer is your defense to the lawsuit. You’ll identify why you believe you don’t owe the debt or question the lawsuit’s validity. If you find mistakes in the Complaint, you’ll want to include them in your Answer.

Filing an Answer stops your creditor from requesting a default judgment against you. Instead, the judge must review the creditor’s Complaint and your Answer before deciding on the case’s outcome.

Draft and file an Answer to your Mississippi debt lawsuit in minutes.

But hopefully, you won’t let things get that far. Instead, you’ll repay or settle the debt before your court date.

Repaying the debt entirely is ideal because it stops all further legal activity concerning the obligation. Your creditor must dismiss the lawsuit since there’s nothing to sue you for. You won’t need to worry about your employer getting wind of wage garnishment, and you won’t lose a chunk of your weekly income.

If you can’t afford to repay the entire debt, consider settling it instead.

Avoid Mississippi wage garnishment through debt settlement

In a debt settlement, you offer the creditor a percentage of the obligation in a lump-sum payment. In return, it will agree to release you from the remainder of the debt. If you can negotiate a debt settlement, the debt lawsuit and the potential for wage garnishment go away.

SoloSettle, powered by SoloSuit, is a tech-based approach to debt settlement. Our software helps you send and receive settlement offers until you reach an agreement with the collector. Once an agreement is reached, we’ll help you manage the settlement documentation and transfer your payment to the creditor or debt collector, helping you keep your financial information private and secure.

To learn more about how to stop wage garnishment through debt settlement in Iowa, check out this video:

Creditors can’t use the wage garnishment tactic unless they successfully sue you in court. If you receive notice of a debt lawsuit, sit up and take note. File an Answer, and find a way to repay or settle the debt before your court date.

Claim exemptions to stop wage garnishment in Mississippi

Some types of income and property are exempt from wage garnishment in Mississippi, including:

  • Up to $75,000 of equity in your homestead
  • Up to $20,000 of equity in one mobile home, trailers, manufactured housing, or similar type dwelling, owned and occupied by the debtor as his or her primary residence
  • Tangible personal property not exceeding $10,000 in cumulative value
  • Proceeds of insurance on or sale of exempt property
  • Income from disability insurance
  • Assets held in or monies payable from a pension, profit-sharing, stock bonus or similar plan
  • Personal injury judgments up to $10,000
  • Worker’s compensations benefits
  • Unemployment compensations benefits
  • Old age, survivors, and disability benefits under the social security act
  • Veterans benefits
  • Supplemental Security Income payments

If any of these monies or properties apply to your situation, you must claim your exemptions in order to protect them from garnishment in Mississippi. You should claim your exemptions orally or in writing, but preferably in writing to prevent any confusion in the future.

Click here to learn more about how to claim your exemptions from wage garnishment in Mississippi.

Don’t let your Mississippi creditor win a judgment against you. Settle your debt with help from SoloSettle.

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