Federal law authorizes the pay of active, reserve, and retired members of the military and the pay of civilian employees of the Federal government to be garnished (or attached) for the payment of child and/or spousal support. The following is a summary of how garnishment works in the military:
Implementing a Garnishment
In order to implement a garnishment or wage attachment against any member of the military or any civilian employee of the Department of Defense (DOD), an income withholding order, or similar process, must be served upon DFAS at the following address:
Defense Finance and Accounting Service
PO Box 998002
DFAS Garnishment Website
Garnishment is limited, by law, according to the either:
- 25% of disposable earnings for that week, or
- The amount by which disposable earnings for that week exceed thirty times the Federal minimum hourly wage in effect at the time the earnings are payable;
Whichever is less. In the case of earnings for any pay period other than a week, the Secretary of Labor shall, by regulation, prescribe a multiple of the Federal minimum hourly wage equivalent in effect.
Exceptions of Garnishment Limits
The restrictions/limits of above do not apply in the case of
- Any order for the support of any person issued by a court of competent jurisdiction or in accordance with an administrative procedure, which is established by State law, which affords substantial due process, and which is subject to judicial review.
- Any order of any court of the United States having jurisdiction such over cases.
- Any debt due for any State or Federal tax.
The maximum part of the aggregate disposable earnings of an individual for any workweek which is subject to garnishment to enforce any order for the support of any person shall not exceed:
- Where such individual is supporting his spouse or dependent child (other than a spouse or child with respect to whose support such order is used), 50 percent of such individual's disposable earnings for that week; and
- Where such individual is not supporting such a spouse or dependent child, 60 per cent of such individual's disposable earnings for that week;
- Except that, with respect to the disposable earnings of any individual for any workweek, the 50 percent shall be deemed to be 55 percent and the 60 percent shall be deemed to be 65 percent, if and to the extent that such earnings are subject to garnishment to enforce a support order with respect to a period which is prior to the twelve-week period which ends with the beginning of such workweek.