Garnishment of Federal Student Loans

Justice _scaleFederally funded student loans are unlike any
other.  With every other debt, the creditor must file a
lawsuit against you and win it before they can make any attempt to
garnish your wages or attach to any of your assets.  However,
with federally funded student loans, the government has the right
to start a garnishment without a lawsuit.  However, this does
not mean you have no rights when it comes to the collection of
these loans.
 
Debt collectors of student loans will use this sort of information
to their benefit to frighten consumers into paying them money
faster.  Often, the collectors will say that they can start
the process without any legal action whatsoever. Typically, they
will make it seem like you will wake up one morning to find your
wages garnished with no written warning .  That’s not only
incorrect, but it may be a violation of the
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
. As with anything else,
there’s a process that must be followed before they can take your
money, and if the process is not properly followed, there can be no
garnishment.

The Collector is Required to Give you Written Notice
Advising You of Your Rights

Under the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, the U.S.
Department of Education must mail you written notice at least 30
days before it begins to garnish your wages.  They must advise
you about the nature and amount of the debt, as well as the fact
that the agency intends to initiate garnishment.  In addition,
the notice must state that you (1) have the right to inspect and
copy records, (2) enter into a repayment agreement, and (3) request
a hearing about the existence, amount, or current enforceability of
the debt, the rate of withholding, and whether you have been
continuously employed less than twelve months after an involuntary
separation from employment.

What To Do If You Receive A Garnishment
Notice

If you request a hearing in a timely manner (on or before the
thirtieth day following notice of garnishment) then the garnishment
cannot not proceed until after the hearing.   While you
can still ask for a hearing once a garnishment begins, the
garnishment itself won’t stop.  As such, it is critical to get
the request for hearing in promptly after receiving it.

Also, the “Request for Hearing” form allows you to choose
between a written record, in-person hearing, or telephone
hearing.  As such, if personal attendance at a hearing is
difficult, you can elect to have it over the phone or have your
positions submitted in writing.   A hearing can reduce
the amount you owe and delay the garnishment.

Debt Collectors that Collect Student Loans Are Not
Exempt from the FDCPA.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act applies to all collectors
that are collecting consumer debts.  That the debt is one that
is the governments is of no consequence.  A collector cannot
harass or abuse you, call third parties for reasons other than to
seek your location information, make misrepresentation or threats
to you.  Most importantly, they cannot tell you that you do
not have any of the rights as discussed above. 

The attorneys of SmithMarco, P.C., a debt collection law
firm, has over 30 years of combined experience practicing law
protecting the rights of consumers around the country. Contact us for a free case review to
determine if your personal debt collection consumer rights were
violated