Limits on Wage Garnishment in South Carolina

In many states, the threat of wage garnishment is a legitimate fear held by debtors. Knowing that their creditors can take part their income before they get the chance to pay for the month’s necessities would terrify anyone. Fortunately, in South Carolina, this practice has been limited, though not eliminated entirely. There are certain restrictions in regards to wage garnishment that you should know about.

Most creditors cannot garnish your wages, but there are two exceptions: the government, including money owed to the IRS and federally backed student loans, and child support in certain court-ordered instances. Violating family court orders can land you in jail, so keep that in mind.

Under the federal government’s protection laws, if your wages have been garnished due to one loan, your employer cannot fire you, nor can they fire you because a debtor attempted to file a garnishment on a consumer debt. However, this same protection does not extend if you have multiple loans being paid out of your wages. Also, you still have the right to receive at least partial payment for your work, despite the garnishment. In fact, in South Carolina, only 25% of your wages can be placed under garnishment. The rest contributes to your income.

Child support, however, works a little differently. It can be garnished to a higher percent than other debts and, if you are late to a certain extent, it can be even higher.

If you do not live in South Carolina and think you can move to the state in order to escape your wage garnishment, think again. While people who fell into debt in South Carolina can’t have their wages garnished, you still can. If your creditor can get a court-ordered writ of garnishment in another state, the garnishment can follow you to South Carolina.

Also, this garnishment can only be taken out of the income you would receive after required deductions like taxes and Social Security.

Wage garnishments can be a hassle for both the debtor and the employer they work for, but federal laws can help protect you from them. Living in South Carolina also helps. It is considered one of the most “consumer friendly” states for having this protection. Consumer debt cannot subject you to wage garnishments. Only certain government debts can, and even then, you are protected in South Carolina in many ways one is not elsewhere.

Kari Johnson

Kari Johnson is a first-year student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, having lived in North Carolina her whole life. At UNC, she is a declared Religious Studies major, and intends to study some form of writing as well during her time and Chapel Hill. She plans to graduate in 2014, after participating in undergraduate research and a study abroad program.

Kari discovered the magic of writing early, in elementary school, and has devoted every spare moment to it since. She writes fiction for her own amusement, and recently began writing articles for The Daily Tar Heel in Chapel Hill. Besides writing, she loves spending time with friends and family, reading, and drinking coffee. She defines herself based on her faith in God, her family roots, and her dream of one day publishing a best-selling novel.

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