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What is Disposable Earnings for Garnishment Purposes?


Question: What is Disposable Earnings for Garnishment Purposes?

The federal law regarding garnishment is part of the Consumer Credit Protection Act and is administered by the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor. The law sets restrictions on wages that can be garnished, based on "disposable income."


What is Included in Disposable Earnings for Garnishment Purposes?
Federal law restricts the amount taken in garnishment based on disposable earnings, which is the amount left after legally required deductions are made, such as FICA tax (Social Security and Medicare) and employee share of state unemployment insurance.

Deductions not required by law, such as union dues, health insurance, retirement savings contributions (except as required by law) usually can't be subtracted from gross earnings when calculating disposable earnings for garnishment purposes.

Source: Federal Wage Law Consumer Credit Protection Act (PDF)


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