Retiree Pay Garnishment

Handful of dollars

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.

How Much Retired Military Pay May Be Garnished?

Only the retiree's disposable retired pay is subject to garnishment.

A 2016 law set the calculation of retiree's gross retired pay to “the amount of basic pay payable to the member for the member’s pay grade and years of service at the time of the court order” and increased by the cost-of-living amounts granted to military retirees from the time of the (divorce) to the date the member retires.

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.

For commercial debts, up to 25% of the members’ disposable income can be garnished under federal law.

The highest amount of alimony that can be garnished 50% of the member’s disposable retirement pay.  When there are both alimony and child support payments being made, the total amount being deducted from the member’s retirement check can’t exceed 65% of their disposable income.

Compensation paid by VA is garnishable if the retiree waived all or part of their 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.

Check out the DFAS garnishment page for more details.

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