TN 21 (02-06)
GN 02410.200 Garnishment
A. Policy - Section 459 of the Act
Section 459 of the Act contains a specific exception to Section 207 so that title II benefits are subject to legal process brought by an individual in a State court for the enforcement of a legal obligation to provide child support and/or make alimony payments.
NOTE: SSI payments are not subject to garnishment.
B. Policy - Legal Process
Legal process is any writ, order, summons, or notice to withhold pursuant to subsection (a) (1) or (b) of 42 USC 666, or other similar process in the nature of garnishment. It may include, but is not limited to, an attachment, writ of execution, income execution order or wage assignment that is issued by:
A court of competent jurisdiction, including Indian tribal courts within any State, territory, or possession of the U.S. or the District of Columbia;
A court of competent jurisdiction in any foreign country with which the U.S. has entered into an agreement which requires the U.S. to honor the process. See GN 02410.210B. regarding foreign court orders;
An authorized official pursuant to an order of a court of competent jurisdiction or pursuant to State or local law;
A State agency authorized to issue income withholding notices pursuant to State or local law or pursuant to 42 USC 666(b);
and is directed to a governmental entity.
Hereafter, the terms “garnishment order” or “order” refer to any legal process and “the court” refers to any issuer of legal process in this context.
C. Policy - Legal Obligation
A legal obligation is an obligation to pay alimony and/or child support which is enforceable under appropriate State or local law.
D. Policy - Child Support
Child support is periodic payment of funds for the support and maintenance of a child(ren) subject to and in accordance with State or local law.
E. Policy - Alimony
Alimony is periodic payment of funds for the support and maintenance of a spouse or former spouse subject to and in accordance with State or local law. It includes, but is not limited to, separate maintenance and spousal support.
Both “child support” and “alimony” may include attorney fees, interest, cash medical support and court costs if they are expressly made recoverable under a garnishment order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction in accordance with applicable State or local law.
F. Policy - Payover
Payover is the actual issuing of garnishment payments based on a court order.