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Retiree Pay Garnishment

Divorce

Retired pay may be garnished for enforcement of a retired servicemember's legal obligations to provide child support or make alimony payments. Upon receipt of a valid court order, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service in Cleveland (DFAS-CL) may use retired pay that may be available, including any allotments from such pay, to satisfy the amount of the writ. The amount of writ can include all retroactive amounts for which a retired servicemember may be delinquent in child support or alimony payments. DFAS-CL will attempt to notify a retired servicemember of any garnishment against retired pay. Only the retiree's disposable retired pay is subject to garnishment.

Disposable retired pay is gross retired pay less:

  • Amounts owed to the U.S.
  • Federal income taxes required or authorized by law. Additional amounts for tax withholding are considered only when the servicemember submits evidence of the tax obligation.
  • State taxes under certain conditions.
  • Compensation deductions under Title 5 or 38 (dual compensation/forfeiture or VA compensation).
  • SBP or RSFPP cost deductions regardless of the beneficiary.

The garnishment amount is limited to 50 percent of disposable pay if the retiree is supporting a second family, and 60 percent if the retiree is not supporting a second family. When a retiree is more than 12 weeks in arrears for support, the limitation is 55 percent if the retiree is supporting a second family, and 65 percent if the retiree is not supporting a second family.

When DFAS-CL has been served with more than one legal process, money is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Compensation paid by VA is garnishable if the retired retiree waived all or part of his or her retired pay in order to receive such compensation from VA. All other VA compensation (e.g., pension, payments for service-connected disability or death) may not be garnished.

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