Can the IRS Garnish Your Social Security?


Social Security garnishment is generally not available for creditors. However, the federal government has the full force of the IRS to perform levies for tax debts. The IRS can garnish Social Security for back taxes.

What Can the IRS Garnish?

The IRS can levy Social Security disability (SSD) payments, retirement payments, and survivor payments. The IRS cannot garnish lump-sum death payments, children’s benefits, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments.

As far as amounts, the IRS can garnish up to 15% of your Social Security payment. The minimum monthly payment changes each year. 

What Is the Garnishment Process?

The IRS will send several letters before it begins garnishing your social security payments. First, the IRS will send a CP-14 form stating how much you owe and when it’s due. The IRS will probably send three more letters before it finally sends you a CP-91 or CP-298 which informs you of the IRS’s intent to levy your Social Security benefits. They will give you 30 days from the date of the final notice to pay the outstanding debt.

The SSA has no authority to stop the garnishment so you will have to deal with the IRS to stop it.Can You Release a Levy on Your Social Security Benefits?

Yes, there are ways to release a levy on your Social Security Here are your options:

  • Full repayment. 
  • Pay in installments. 
  • Partial payment installment agreement (PPIA). 
  • Offer in compromise. 
  • Currently not collectible. 
  • Bankruptcy. 
  • Innocent spouse relief. 

How a Pasadena, California Attorney Can Help You

Find out how you can appeal a tax levy or reach an agreement with the IRS. Contact The Law Office of Daniela Romero, APLC to learn more.

Need More Information?

At the Law Office of Daniela Romero, we believe in relationships that are based on trust. Before we work together, we would like to get to know you and we would like you to get to know us. We want you to be sure you are the right fit for us and that we are the perfect fit for you. This will allow you to be completely comfortable sharing intimate and difficult details of your case, so we can offer you representation to the fullest extent of the law. Call us today to set up a free consultation.