Georgia Wage Garnishment Law Takes Effect—Again

5/13/2016 6:11 AM

The new law has more protections for consumers and clarifies requirements for creditors to notify consumers about money that is exempt from garnishment.


Eight months after a federal judge declared it unconstitutional, Georgia's wage garnishment law is in effect again with additional requirements for creditors.

The new law includes clarification about what money—such as Social Security benefits, welfare and workers' compensation—is protected from garnishment and requires creditors to notify consumers about these exemptions. It also has information for consumers about the appeals process if exempt money is taken through wage garnishment. The new law says a hearing is required within 10 days after a claim to recover exempt money is filed, according to the article.

In September 2015, U.S. District Court Senior Judge Marvin H. Shoob declared the state's law over the garnishment process unconstitutional after a consumer lawsuit was filed against the clerk of courts in Gwinnett County, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

The declaration halted garnishments in Gwinnett County while the state law, and protections for consumers who owe debts, was reviewed.

The case prompting the judge's decision to declare the law unconstitutional, Strickland v. Alexander, No. 1:12-CV-02735-MHS (N.D. Ga. Oct. 5, 2015), was filed after creditors garnished Tony Strickland's Social Security income and money from his workers' compensation settlement.

Richard Alexander, the clerk of courts in Gwinnett County, said told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the county is ready to process garnishment filings under the new law. Garnishments in the county declined 20 percent from 2014 and in the past it has had about one-third of the state's total garnishments.

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