Military Garnishment

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3D rendering of gavel, law scales and books on a wooden table
3D rendering of gavel, law scales and books on a wooden table

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 taken) for the payment of child support, alimony or unpaid debts.

It's not just your basic pay that can be withheld, garnishments can also include almost all of your "pay" such as special pay, incentive pay, etc. Your allowances such as Basic Allowance for Housing and Basic Allowance for Subsistence cannot be garnished.

There are voluntary and involuntary garnishments, usually an involuntary garnishment requires a court-order unless it is to repay a debt to the federal government.

Garnishment Limits

Garnishment is limited, by law, to the lesser of:

  • 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;

Exceptions of Garnishment Limits

The restrictions/limits of above do not apply in the case of:

  • Any order for the support of any person (such as child support or alimony) issued by a court in accordance with law.
  • Any court order.
  • Any debt due for any State or Federal tax.

In certain cases, up to 60% of your pay can be withheld to pay for child support or alimony.

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