Summary: Pennsylvania wage garnishment laws protect consumers from having their primary source of income taken by creditors. The laws limit the amount a creditor can take and give debtors the opportunity to challenge the order. If your wages are being garnished in Pennsylvania, you can stop it by objecting to the garnishment or filing a claim of exemption. Alternatively, you can avoid wage garnishment through debt settlement.
If you're facing financial struggles in Pennsylvania and have fallen behind on loan and credit card payments, you may be at risk of having your wages garnished. Wage garnishment is a legal process that permits debt collectors to collect a portion of your wages directly from your paycheck to repay debts.
It can be a stressful experience to see your paycheck with your regular pay reduced by up to 25%, which leaves you with reduced income to cover your essential expenses. However, Pennsylvania has laws to protect consumers from excessive wage garnishment.
Understanding your rights and options is crucial in stopping wage garnishment and regaining control of your finances. This article will discuss the laws you need to know and various methods to stop wage garnishment in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes under section 42 PA Cons Stat § 8127 outlines the wage garnishment laws. Additional provisions to support the state laws are found within the federal laws 15 U.S.C. § 1673. Here is a summary of the most crucial laws:
Limitations on the amount: In Pennsylvania, debt collectors can garnish up to 25% of your disposable earnings or the amount by which your disposable income surpasses 30 times the federal minimum wage, whichever is less.
Protection for the head of household: Pennsylvania law allows for additional protection if you are the head of the home and provide more than 50% of the support for a dependent. For instance, creditors can only garnish 10% of your disposable earnings or the amount by which your disposable earnings exceed 50 times the federal minimum wage.
Income exemptions: Pennsylvania also exempts some earnings from wage garnishment, including Social Security, disability benefits, retirement benefits, workers' compensation, and unemployment compensation.
Garnishment prioritization: Pennsylvania follows a priority system for multiple garnishments. If you have more than one garnishment, they must be satisfied in the order they were served, unless one of them is for child or spousal support.
Employer responsibility: Under 15 U.S.C. § 1674 of Federal law, an employer cannot discriminate or terminate you because your earnings are under garnishment.
Object to the wage garnishment
You have the right to object to wage garnishment in Pennsylvania if you believe it is incorrect or illegal. The following are the reasons you can use in your document:
The debt amount is inaccurate as per the state and federal limits
Your income is undergoing multiple garnishments
Improper or delayed notice by the creditor and employer
Identity theft or mistaken identity
You are facing extreme financial hardship
Once you are ready to file the objection, download or pick a form from the court the garnishment order came from and fill in the required information. Afterward, the court may request a hearing and decide whether to uphold the earlier decision or eliminate or reduce the garnishment order.
On that note, do you have another outstanding debt that a creditor may go to the same root of filing a lawsuit? If they do, you can fight back by sending a powerful Answer document. Learn more in the following video.
Your wages are under the government-protected benefits
To improve your chances of succeeding in getting an exemption, follow these steps:
Identify what part of your income is eligible for exemption under Pennsylvania law.
Obtain the Claim of Exemption form from the court that issued the garnishment order.
Fill out the form and file it within ten days from the date indicated in the order.
Attend the hearing and carry the evidence required to prove your case.
Follow any additional court procedures or requirements as directed by the judge.
Await the court’s decision that will either approve or deny your request.
Let's look at an example of how to stop a wage garnishment in Pennsylvania.
Example: Anna is a retired teacher who receives a monthly pension as her primary source of income. She has been struggling with credit card debt and defaulted on payments, leading to a wage garnishment order issued by PenStar Financials. However, Anna's only source of income is her pension, which is considered a retirement benefit. Hence, she files for an exemption, explaining that the pension is her only source of income for her basic living expenses. The court reviewed Anna's claim and lifted the wage garnishment order per Pennsylvania law.
Prevent wage garnishment before it happens
One way to stop wage garnishment before it even happens is through negotiating a debt settlement.
You may believe your creditor doesn't want to participate in negotiations because they are upset about the process you’ve taken them through in court. Surprisingly, creditors are often willing to negotiate even at the garnishment stage. The catch is that you must make a lump sum payment and pay the remaining amount within a reasonable time.
Notably, negotiating with creditors can be challenging, and it's essential to approach it with a clear understanding of your financial situation. You must also have realistic expectations and be willing to find a mutually beneficial solution. Fortunately, SoloSettle is a tool that helps you achieve this goal without the risk of being exploited by creditors or debt collectors.
File for bankruptcy as a last resort
Filing for bankruptcy should be the last option if you cannot find a better way to beat the garnishment order. Remember that only some qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and you have to meet the federal criteria. In addition, you are often required to go for credit counseling sessions from an approved agency before going through the process.
For more help managing your debts at various stages, visit the SoloSuit page. You can watch our YouTube Videos, read our informative articles, and use our legal documents to help you respond to debt collection efforts. Explore our resources today.
You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.
SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.
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