Making Justice RealThe Official Blog of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia
Investigative Reporting Highlights Pervasive Garnishment and Attachment in Debt Collection
NPR and ProPublica collaborated to produce two related pieces that ran this week on the recent increase in creditors and debt collectors’ use of wage garnishment and bank account attachment when consumers fall behind on paying their debts. The debts are often unexpected medical expenses or credit card bills that piled up after a major life event reduces consumers’ ability to pay. Now, creditors are obtaining judgments that they can use to garnish as much as a quarter of consumers’ income and to seize funds from consumers’ bank accounts. ADP, the largest payroll services processor in the country, estimates that almost 5% of American consumers earning between $25,000 and $40,000 per year face wage garnishment as a result of consumer debt.