The impact of the pandemic has not been limited to our mental and physical health, but also our financial wellbeing. According to this CNBC news report, the average American now has an individual debt of about $92,727. It is safe to say that there are a significant number of creditors out there awaiting payments that are long overdue.
This could have various implications on individuals as well as businesses alike. In circumstances like these, it is not uncommon, but often surprising to receive an administrative wage garnishment if you have defaulted on an SBA loan.
This article explores the nature of these legal procedures and what you, as a debtor, small business, or employer can do to challenge these wage garnishments.
Let's get started by examining the definition of this procedure, first.
Administrative Wage Garnishment
Administrative wage garnishment is a legal procedure. Here, a percentage of an individual's earnings is withheld and used to clear debts owed to the federal government.
Unlike wage garnishments issued for a private creditor, the federal government does not have to file suit and obtain a judgement before initiating an administrative wage garnishment.
For example, if you are in default of your and are employed, you may receive an administrative wage garnishment.
When Can You Challenge An Administrative Wage Garnishment?
You can stop or challenge an administrative wage garnishment when:
- The debt is not enforceable against you
- The debt amount specified is not correct
- Following through on the issued garnishment would result in financial hardship
There is an exemption for those who have been employed for less than twelve months after losing their previous job. Further, you also get a notice of the administrative wage garnishment and the opportunity for a hearing before the garnishment order can issue.
You can request a hearing to challenge the order on or before the end of this notice period to avoid wage garnishment. However, if you challenge the order after this time period the employer may continue to withhold the amount specified from your wages until a decision has been made.
What To Do When The Debt Amount Specified Is Incorrect
You can find yourself in one of two situations:
- You do not owe the debt at all
- The debt amount specified is wrong
In the first instance, you must provide evidence that demonstrates why you do not owe a debt to the creditor. Depending on your circumstances, you may have already cleared this debt, you may have been released from debt or it could be an administrative error.
In the second instance, you may have to establish that you've already cleared part of the amount. Alternatively, part of your collateral may have been sold to reduce the amount owed. Whatever your reasons are, make sure to provide records, receipts, and other evidence to prove that there has been an error on the part of the issuing authorities.
What Qualifies As A Financial Hardship?
You may also challenge an administrative wage garnishment if it would be a cause of financial hardship to you. To prove this you need to submit a personal financial statement to support your claim.
In a nutshell, you must be able to demonstrate that if your employer were to follow through on the wage garnishment, you would not be able to meet your basic needs. This could include food, utilities, housing, transportation for work, medical care, and other essentials relevant to your daily needs.
Do keep in mind that you cannot use private school tuition or housing cost in excess of the average rent as a daily expense.
Get A Professional Evaluation Of Your Case
An administrative wage garnishment causes you and your business financial hardships and come at unfortunate moments. However, there is plenty you can do to stay afloat and challenge these orders.
Are you a business owner struggling to pay off a federal loan that exceeds $30,000? Do you have trouble managing an administrative wage garnishment? Our team of qualified SBA attorneys can help.
We provide legal assistance and representation to personal guarantors, federal debtors, and small business owners across the nation. Contact us to get helpful information and expert advice on your next course of action. Get in touch today.