Can a Debt Collector Garnishee My Unemployment Check to Satisfy a Judgment in New York?

By: Robert J. Nahoum

A man in suit and tie with his arms crossed.


You’ve lost your job and fallen on hard times.  Debt collectors have been after you, some have even sued. A judgment has now been entered against you.  You are on a fixed budget and your only source of income is unemployment.  You’re worried that the debt collector will garnishee your unemployment check. Can they do it?


In New York State, to satisfy a judgment, through a wage garnishment, a judgment creditor can garnish 10% of gross wages.  However, as in most states, New York has made the policy decision that people should not be left penniless by debt.  For this reason, certain assets and income have been selected as exempt from debt collection.  Among the assets and income sources exempt from levy to satisfy a judgment is unemployment benefits.


If a debt collector even threatens to go after your exempt property including unemployment benefits, take a stand and fight back.  Such a threat would be be a violation of Federal debt collection laws known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA for short).  If you’ve been the victim of an FDCPA violation, you can sue the debt collector for statutory damages up to $1,000.00, actual damages (like pain and suffering) and the debt collector may have to pay for your attorney.

If you need help settling or defending a debt collection law suit, stopping harassing debt collectors or suing a debt collector, contact us today to see what we can do for you.  With office located in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Rockland County, the Law Offices of Robert J. Nahoum defends consumers in debt collection cases throughout the Tristate area including New Jersey.

The Law Offices of Robert J. Nahoum, P.C
(845) 232-0202

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