Attorney General Urging Treasury to Secure Stimulus Checks from Debt Collection

By Jeremy Coumbes on April 14, 2020 at 12:14pm

The Illinois Attorney General is urging the Treasury Department to keep stimulus payments out of the hands of debt collectors.

Attorney General Kwame Raoul joined a collation of 25 attorneys general Monday asking the U.S. Department of the Treasury to take immediate action to protect CARES Act emergency stimulus payments from garnishment by debt collectors.

Similar government relief programs that are intended to provide for Americans’ basic needs, like Social Security, disability, and veterans’ payments, are all statutorily exempt from garnishment by creditors.

However the CARES Act was passed without any explicit designation to exempt stimulus payments from garnishment, allowing debt collectors to potentially benefit before consumers.

The bi-partisan group sent a letter to Treasure Secretary Steven Mnuchin urging him to use his authority under the CARES Act to issue regulations or guidance, barring the garnishment or collection of stimulus payments by creditors.

Rauol says he is urging the Treasury Department to take action to ensure these funds go to the individuals and families that desperately need it, and not to debt collectors.

The CARES Act authorizes the Treasury Department to issue emergency stimulus payments of up to $1,200 for eligible adults and up to $500 for eligible children, and was signed into law by President Donald Trump three weeks ago.

The Internal Revenue Service began distributing stimulus payments by direct deposit on Friday, and officials say that an estimated 50 to 70 million Americans are expected to receive their direct deposit funds by April 15th.