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How much of your income can you lose to wage garnishment?

Once your finances start to spiral out of control, it can prove difficult to get things back to a manageable state. If your debts have continued to compound over time, you may find creditors hounding you, and in some cases, this can lead to you losing some percentage of your wages.

According to NerdWallet, a wage garnishment occurs when your employer receives a court order to withhold a portion of your paycheck so that it can go toward debts you owe. As you can imagine, losing any part of your paycheck can prove troubling, and if you are already struggling to make ends meet, it can make it even harder to pay your rent or mortgage, feed your family and so on.

How much can you lose?

Just how much of your income can you anticipate losing to wage garnishment? While there is no single, all-encompassing answer to this question, there are some areas you can examine to get a better sense of how much you stand to lose.

Consumer debt

If your debt is a result of you not paying, say, medical bills, credit card bills, a personal loan or most other types of consumer debt, you stand to lose either 25% of your weekly income or the amount by which your income surpasses 30 times the current federal minimum wage – whichever amount is lower. If your income is so low that this figure ends up coming out to $217.50 or lower, though, the wage garnishment will not occur at all.

Support payments

If your wage garnishment is the result of you not paying alimony or child support, however, you stand to lose as much as 65% of your weekly paycheck. If you are currently supporting other family members, you may lose 50% of your check, but if you are not, you stand to lose 60% of it or even more. Once your payments are in arrears by more than 12 weeks, you may also lose an additional 5% of your paycheck.

Other debt

Other types of debts can lead to you losing other percentages of your weekly income to wage garnishment. If you are facing wage garnishment due to student loan or tax debts, for example, you might lose about 15% of your paycheck to wage garnishment.

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