Disability Income Protection In Texas

Dealing with creditors can be a difficult experience, especially if you’ve recently become disabled or have had an event that caused you to fall behind on your bills. Should a bill go as far as being sent to collections, you’ll also receive calls from debt collectors, including agencies.

Disability Income Protection In Texas.

Occasionally, debt collectors make statements intended to strike fear in someone to force them to pay up. For someone on disability, this can be particularly menacing. Don’t let them intimidate you.

In most cases, if a creditor or debt collector tells you that they will “take your disability check,” it’s a scare tactic.

But there are occasions where past-due debts can be taken out of your disability income, under certain conditions.

Social Security Income

Federal law prohibits Social Security disability payments from garnishment.

In every case, a debt collector must go to court and file a lawsuit, then obtain a judgment for the money. Your bank would then be required to turn over the money, known as a “garnishment.” But if you receive certain types of income, they are not allowed to do so.

Certain benefits are exempt by federal law from garnishment, including:

  • Social Security
  • Supplemental Security Income
  • Veterans benefits (including disability)
  • Federal Railroad retirement, unemployment, and sickness benefits
  • Civil Service Retirement System benefits
  • Federal Employee Retirement System benefits

The US Treasury requires your bank to automatically freeze two months of these benefits and keep them for your own use. However, anything over that two-month threshold is accessible, meaning that a creditor can access the rest of it.

Your Bank

Debt collectors are forbidden from taking your disability payments directly out of your bank account or remove it from a prepaid debit card. Despite the rules, many still attempt to do so.

Your bank or credit union is required to protect two months of that income from garnishment for your use. This means that if your monthly disability payment is $1500, and your bank balance is $4,500, the bank is only required to protect $3,000, or two months of payments. The additional $1,500 can be made available to creditors.

Banks are required to review accounts prior to garnishment to ensure that Social Security payments have been deposited and are not garnished. Should a creditor or debt collector attempt to collect from your disability payments, you may have to go to court to get it returned. If you are sued by a creditor that collects from your bank account, make sure to notify the judge that the money is from Social Security and is exempt.

If you are one of the many recipients who receive benefits on a Direct Express or other prepaid debit card, they are still protected from garnishment just as if they were in a bank account.

You can write an “anti-garnishment letter” to your bank stating that your income is exempt, including your name, address, and account number. Mail it to your bank certified, return receipt requested, or hand-deliver to the appropriate person at our local branch.

Adding disability monies into a bank account with other funds may render it accessible to a creditor. It may be wise to have a separate bank account just for your disability income payments and avoid comingling the disability funds with any other monies.

Long Term Disability Payments

In most states, private disability payments are also protected, because they do not allow creditors to take this income. Federal law can also protect some or all private LTD payments.

The Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) protects 25% of “disposable earnings”—what’s left after deductions—from collection actions or the amount by which wages exceed 30 times the minimum wage, whichever is lower. States are also required to this amount as a minimum, although some protect higher amounts.


Some debts are allowed to be garnished from Social Security Disability income, including:

  • Child support
  • Overdue or defaulted student loans
  • Back taxes
  • Other monies owed to the federal government

Similarly, child support and back taxes can be garnished from LTD payments. However, if you receive SSI, these benefits can’t be garnished for these reasons.

Houston’s Disability Attorney

If you need help with your SSDI, it helps to have an experienced disability law firm to answer your questions.

We’ve helped over 4,000 Houstonians get their disability benefits. The Herren Law Firm in Houston, TX can assist with your application, appeals, and records gathering to prove your case, and win your claim. Contact us today at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation and no up-front fees, and we only collect a fee if we win your case.

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