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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
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    7

    Default Is My Pension Protected from a Money Judgment

    My question involves court procedures for the state of: Indiana

    My ex won a judgment against me on a car loan for $16,000. I know my SS is safe in an account by itself. I receive a paper check for my GM pension. Is my pension safe?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    18,827

    Default Re: Is My Pension Protected

    How you receive the money from GM doesn't matter. The pension isn't garnishable directly (i.e., before they are paid to you). However, there's no protection for private pensions that are deposited in an account (and by the way the SS money is only safe for the two months worth, so you can't just accumulate money in the SS account and claim it will be forever untouchable).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
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    7

    Default Re: Is My Pension Protected

    Ok, that was my understanding. That's why I receive the paper check instead of direct deposit.

  4. #4
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    Sep 2010
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    18,827

    Default Re: Is My Pension Protected

    Quote Quoting wplanck
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    Ok, that was my understanding. That's why I receive the paper check instead of direct deposit.
    Not sure who you are responding to, but there's no much difference. There's no automatic garnishment either way. Even with DD they'd have to notice the money had appeared in the account and move to seize it before you managed to withdraw it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    1,067

    Default Re: Is My Pension Protected

    Any pension -- public or private -- covered by ERISA is protected against direct garnishment. Once the money goes into a bank account, however, it is subject to levy.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    168

    Default Re: Is My Pension Protected

    Quote Quoting pg1067
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    Any pension -- public or private -- covered by ERISA is protected against direct garnishment. Once the money goes into a bank account, however, it is subject to levy.
    So OJ Simpson must be cashing his pension checks to avoid garnishment by the Goldmans?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    7,090

    Default Re: Is My Pension Protected

    Quote Quoting flyingron
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    There's no federal rules on private pensions, only government ones (social security, civil service, and some of the other esoteric ones like the railroads).
    It is not correct that there is no federal law regarding attachment of pensions. The federal law that governs most private pensions is the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). One of the provisions of that law requires that pensions that qualify for ERISA "shall provide that benefits provided under the plan may not be assigned or alienated." 29 U.S.C. 1056(d)(1). The federal courts have interpreted that to mean that most creditors cannot attach the pension by levy/garnishment either. Section 1056(d)(3) does allow for garnishment of the pension for support obligations (child support/alimony) and another federal law does allow the IRS to attach pensions to collect for federal taxes owed. Where ERISA applies, it preempts state law.

    Most state laws also exempt pensions from attachment by garnishment/levy, too. So even in the relatively rare event that a private pension is not covered by ERISA it may still be protected by state law.


    Quote Quoting Chuck77
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    How is OJ Simpson's pension protected?
    OJ Simpson's NFL pension is protected from attachment under ERISA and likely under the applicable state law too. However, those laws only prevent the creditor from directly attaching the pension, i.e. sending the levy/garnishment order directly to the pension fund trustee and having the pension fund pay the creditor directly. Once the pension fund pays the pensioner the money is just cash in the hands of the pensioner. So if the pensioner parks the money in a bank account the creditor can attach the bank account and grab the money like any other funds parked in that account, with the notable exception of Social Security funds. So a debtor seeking to avoid that will put his pension funds after he gets them into some form that a creditor cannot so easily reach as a bank account.

    Quote Quoting Chuck77
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    So OJ Simpson must be cashing his pension checks to avoid garnishment by the Goldmans?
    Yes, cashing them and converting them into something the creditor cannot reach.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Is My Pension Protected

    Sooo, the judge can't/won't order me to turn over my pension money? Like I said, I get a paper check from GM. I do not deposit it anywhere. Is my GM pension covered by ERISA?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    275

    Default Re: Is My Pension Protected

    Just a thought but uncashed checks and other unclaimed property eventually escheat to the state.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    2,656

    Default Re: Is My Pension Protected

    Quote Quoting DAWW
    View Post
    Just a thought but uncashed checks and other unclaimed property eventually escheat to the state.
    I don't think the OP ever talked about or intended to never cash the checks just not deposit them in the bank.

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