Protecting Your Coronavirus Stimulus Check From Your Creditors
The impact of COVID-19 has affected most Americans in some way, either through a loved one becoming ill or dying, or through an impact on their finances. Many businesses have been forced to shutter their doors, and lay off or even fire workers. With such uncertainty, the federal government made the decision to provide Economic Impact Payments to all persons in the United States. These “stimulus checks” have been starting to show up in the bank accounts of millions of Americans, at a time when they are desperately needed in order to pay for food, mortgages, and other bills. If you are curious where your stimulus check is, simply go to the Internal Revenue Service’s website and you will be directed regarding the status of your current stimulus payment check.
Understanding Stimulus Checks
These checks were issued as a way for the federal government to quickly infuse cash into households throughout the United States in order to “stimulate” our economy due to the global pandemic of COVID-19. When estimates show that nearly 1 out of every 5 Americans have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus, these workers now have no way to pay their bills, or simply purchase goods, which keeps an economy moving forward and thriving.
Debt Collectors and Stimulus Checks
The government intended for these stimulus checks to be used to allow debtors to continue to pay their bills, utilities, mortgages, and other debts. However, when Congress made the decision to pass the CARES Act, which officially and legally authorized these stimulus checks, they did not identify or characterize these funds as federal benefits. Instead, they allowed these stimulus checks to be identified for legal purposes as tax credits. Therefore, any debt collector that already has a way to access your bank account through a garnishment, may be able to take the money once it hits your bank account. If you are in the process of having your bank accounts garnished for any legal reason, there is a good chance that your creditor or lender may be able to access these stimulus checks from your bank account under wage garnishment or other legally allowed means.
If you are in a situation due to the coronavirus that has left you without the ability to pay your debts, either due to your medical condition, your inability to return to work, your loss of income due to a pay cut, your layoff, or simply because you were fired, you have legal options to help you during this financial time. If you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your collectors will not have the ability to continue to harass you regarding your bills. They will not be able to place any new garnishments on your bank account. (It is important to note that if you already have a garnishment on your bank account, then visiting with an attorney can help you better understand your situation.) Along with being able to keep your stimulus check, you will be afforded a fresh financial start during a very uncertain economic time.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
While many courthouses are closed, you are still legally allowed to file for bankruptcy even though the COVID-19 has slowed or stopped many legal proceedings. Contact an experienced West Palm Beach bankruptcy attorney at Kelley, Fulton & Kaplan at 561-264-6850 for a free consultation, and to help you understand how bankruptcy may help you during this challenging time in our nation’s history.