Can wages or unemployment be garnished under COVID-19

Can wages or unemployment be garnished under COVID

Can wages or unemployment be garnished under COVID-19?


As a result of the unprecedented global pandemic caused by COVID-19, an enormous amount of people have faced unpaid furloughs, a reduction in paid working hours, or in some cases unemployment. During the first two months of the pandemic alone, more than 36 million U.S. works filed for unemployment, a record high for our country. Although some were able to receive emergency financial assistance in the form of stimulus checks or unemployment payments, many people received no assistance at all. At the Law Offices of Nicholas J Del Pizzo, a bankruptcy law firm in Baltimore, MD we get asked the following question all the time. Can wages or unemployment be garnished under COVID-19?

Answering the question: Can wages or unemployment be garnished under COVID--19?

Understanding Wage Garnishment

So what exactly is wage garnishment in the first place? Well, it is the process by which a creditor can take or “garnish” wages/income in order to pay off a debt owed. Any individual or business can be subject to garnishment, but it can only take place with a court order. For example, if a creditor wants to collect money owed and they are able to obtain a final judgment or court order against the debtor, then the individual’s wages or property may be garnished. In Maryland, this type of judgment is enforceable for up to 12 years, but it can also be renewed as well.


In March 202, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act–a $2 trillion economic relief package for both employees and small businesses, which included immediate stimulus payments for qualifying individuals. Although this was put in place to help Americans who were struggling financial as a result of the pandemic, the stimulus payments themselves were not protected from garnishment by debt collectors. Even with calls to protect the payments from this action, even as of the writing of this blog, no such protections have been put into place. 

Wage Garnishment and COVID-19

The wage garnishment process for employers remains largely unchanged despite the current world health crisis. Child support orders are still in effect, but student loan garnishments have been put on pause due to a U.S. Department of Education (DOE) directive which authorized immediate suspension of garnishments for federal student loans for at least 60 days. State laws differ in terms of the handling of wage garnishments from creditors.

Protecting Your Income

Despite things feeling unfair that wage garnishment still goes on even with the current world climate, there are steps you can take to protect your income from being garnished by creditors. If you receive a demand letter from a creditor, it is key to not ignore it. Many creditors prefer to work directly with debtors to avoid the time and money involved in securing a court judgment. An experienced attorney can reach out to a creditor on your behalf to work out a payment plan for all or a reduced portion of the debt. If a court judgment has already been secured to garnish your wages, an experienced attorney may be able to object or challenge the judgment. 

About The Law Offices of Nicholas J Del Pizzo

 At The Law Offices of Nicholas J. Del Pizzo, III P.A. in Baltimore, Maryland, we make ourselves available for our clients when they are facing foreclosure of their home, bankruptcy, personal injury or medical malpractice.

When you have a consultation at our law office, you meet with Nick Del Pizzo, a Baltimore lawyer, the founder of our firm. Your case is not passed off to a paralegal or less-experienced associate. You get the personalized attention you need from a local law firm.

Whatever your legal need is, we are there for you, seven days a week. Your case becomes our cause, and we will seek the best resolution possible.

Ready to Speak to an Experienced Bankruptcy Lawyer in Baltimore? 

The burden of overwhelming debt can be too much for anyone to handle. That is where we come in to help. At The Law Offices of Nicholas J. Del Pizzo, III P.A. in Baltimore, our knowledge of and experience with bankruptcy law can help you get that fresh start by wiping out your debts, reorganizing your finances or saving your home. Contact us today to learn more about filing for bankruptcy in Maryland.

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