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How do I prove funds are from Social Security?


Hugo
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I have a Default Judgment against me. I was able to save up a few hundred dollars of my social security because I put aside a small nominal amount every month which is very difficult to do to begin with. I put the savings in a separate checking account for emergency purposes. Every cent is from Social Security funds. Not a dollar from any other source is co-mingled with the balance in this account. Since it's not in the original bank account that I receive my Direct Deposit from SSA and in the event of a bank levy by an unscrupulous JC, how do I convince JC that it's exempt? The JC is well aware from my attorney that the source of my funds are from SSA but that was over 3 years ago and all my funds were in the same account. My attorney does not like "frivolous" questions that don't require action so that is why I'm asking the forum.

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When a creditor does place a levy on a bank account containing exempt funds, you will likely need to file a notice of exemption with the court, and attend a hearing to request that the funds be released back to you. If the court determines that the funds are exempt from attachment, it should release the money back to you.

Given the fact that you have few assets and a fixed income (SS exempt), I think that courts may be a good option for you to resolve your problem.

Explain to the court you opened a new bank account into which you would deposit all of your exempt funds, and maintain another account for savings from the same-exempt funds you received (and IF true don't add any 'gifts' from friends, exempt income, etc.). You will then need to notify your bank that the funds being deposited into the exempt account(s) should not be levied upon, and that the bank should refuse any levy orders it receives. The bank may or may not be able to guarantee that a levy will not be placed on your exempt funds, but taking these steps should offer you at least some level of protection.

According to the Social Security Administration Web page Garnishing Social Security benefits due to a debt, "If a creditor other than the federal government tries to garnish your Social Security benefits, inform them that such an action violates Section 207 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 407). Section 207 bars garnishment of your benefits. It can also be used as a defense if your benefits are incorrectly garnished. Our responsibility for protecting benefits against garnishment, assignments and other legal processes usually ends when the beneficiary is paid. However, once paid, benefits continue to be protected under section 207 of Act as long as they are identifiable as Social Security benefits."

*I would be very concerned about any attorney that you retain who 'does not like "frivolous" questions that don't require action" on such a SS matter.

Quote from another lawyer:

"Accordingly, your income is protected if your primary sources of income are Social Security and retirement. Most people who are in the type of situation you are facing choose to keep separate bank accounts for their "exempt" funds and any other money they may receive which is not exempt from garnishment; commingling exempt fund with non-exempt funds can lead to all of the funds becoming non-exempt, resulting in a bank levy on what the consumer thought was exempt money."

For more info on how to protect SS from garnishment read: http://socialsecuritystrategy.com/protect-social-security-money-from-wrongful-garnishment/

Edited by FL4answer58
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They can't sue you again. I'm thinking that isn't what you meant.

Typical state law: One lawsuit -> one judgment (good for five years or so) -> able to be renewed two or three times with submittal of a fee to clerk -> at any time during a period of validity (not expired), the judgment can be executed by levy or garnishment as many times as they want. But it isn't cheap -> every attempt usually sets them back $50 to $100, then that amount is tacked onto your judgment debt.

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Guest usctrojanalum

I really would not suggest transfering your SSI money into a savings account. It is mighty mighty difficult to prove you are doing what you are doing. In court your word is not going to be enough, you are going to have to back it up with documentary evidence. Best to just leave all the money from SSI in the original bank account and not use the account for anything else.

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Hugo,

You may want to look at DirectExpress Debit Card from SS as a way to be sure and keep everyone out of your SS payments. I set someone up on it and it works well, just be sure the fees work for you but you can take it into your bank and get cash for no fee.

Also Legal Aid in my state says they will help anyone who has their SS payments seized so you may want to check on that in your state.

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I guess I'll move the saved money back into my original SSA deposit account at my bank. Personally, I feel that the JC would have some burden himself to show evidence that the cash in the second checking account (it's not a savings account) is from an outside source. I say this with confidence because I know EVERY penny in there is from Social Security. I'm very proud of what I accomplished considering how ridiculously low the full benefit is even with the state supplement. I made a point not to make things unnecessarily complicated by co-mingling funds in the future event that the JC tried something underhanded.

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