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Is Wage Garnishment in PA Legal?


wage garnishment in PA

When students hear their wages could be garnished for defaulting on their student loan, their first question is “Is that legal?” The answer is yes and no, because Pennsylvania is one of four states that prohibits private entities from seizing wages. However, wage garnishment in PA is is still possible if you have a federal loan.

What Is Wage Garnishment?

Wage garnishment is the legal term for when some of your paycheck is withheld by your employer and paid directly to your loan provider—in this case, the federal government. (If you are in default on a private loan and your debt collector is threatening to garnish your wages, contact us immediately to discuss your options.) The Department of Education is permitted to take up to 15% of your disposable pay per pay period.

The Dept. of Education cannot surprise you with wage garnishment, though, and it won’t be their first move, either. A few things need to happen before they can start withholding your earnings:

  1. You must enter default on your loan by reaching 270 days of delinquency.
  2. You are unable to negotiate a repayment plan, or you fail to make a payment through the Loan Rehabilitation Program, Direct Consolidation Loan Program or any other repayment program available to you.
  3. The Dept. of Education must provide written notice by mail to your last known address at least 30 days before they send an order to your employer to begin withholding wages.

What Are My Options for Wage Garnishment in PA?

So, what do you do if you’ve been sent a notice that your employer will start withholding your wages in a month’s time? The first and foremost step is to contact a law office, like ours, that is licensed to handle wage garnishment in PA. Gather all of the information you have about your loan, and any communication records between you and your loan provider and make an appointment for a free consultation with us.

Then, we can help you do any of the following, if necessary:

  • Negotiate terms for repayment.
  • Request a hearing and copies of necessary documents.
  • Object to the order due to the legitimacy, amount or enforceability of the loan.
  • Claim legal exclusion or financial hardship.
  • Take legal action against an employer for discharging you or taking disciplinary action against you because of the wage garnishment.

To get in touch with us about wage garnishment in PA, or if you have other questions about how a lawyer can help with PA student loan repayment, contact us here or call 215-307-3939.


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