Who Can Take My Social Security Check?


If you are on Social Security, or applying to be on Social Security, it may please you to learn that there are special laws in place that protect your disability check. In most cases, creditors and debt collectors are not allowed to take your Social Security (unless you decide to give it to them).

Before reading this page: It may help to know that SSI and SSDI are two separate programs. If you are not sure if you are on SSI or SSDI, here’s how you can tell what you are on.

🍎 Credit Cards

🍎 Medical Debt

🍎 Child Support

  • SSDI – Yes! Child support can garnish your Social Security check. Also: Make sure to sign up for extra benefits checks for your kids (even if your kids do not live with you).
  • SSI – No. Child support cannot garnish SSI checks.Β 


🍎 Other Federal Agencies

  • SSDI – Sometimes! Some groups can garnish your Social Security check.
  • SSI – No! They cannot take your Social Security money unless you give it to them.

🍎 Mortgages and Debt Attached to Your Home

  • SSDI and SSI — Doesn’t matter! Some federal mortgages can take your Social Security and other private mortgages cannot. Either way, you probably want to pay your mortgage. You don’t want to lose your home.
  • Learn More – In most areas people with disabilities can get property tax reduced or eliminated. Check with your local tax assessors office.

🍎 LTD Companies

  • SSI and SSDI – No! This is private debt. They cannot take your social security money. Of course, if you are still collecting LTD they can stop your future checks. If you have already been cut off LTD and you are not appealing, some people do decide to just not pay them. Also, you must follow certain Special Rules to Protect Your Bank Account

🍎 Private Student Loans

🍎 Federal Student Loans

  • SSDI — Yes, but…. you have better options….
  • SSI – No, they cannot take your SSI money, but you also have other options…
  • There are several special programs to help people with disabilities with student loans: How to Escape Student Loans.

🍎 State Cash Assistance

  • SSI and SSDI — Yes. If you were receiving money from the state while you were applying, they may take part of your backpay. They will not take future checks. They will not take money back for food stamps or medicaid. They may take money back for cash paid to you or your landlord. It depends on the regulations for the program that provided the assistance. .

🍎 Social Security Overpayment

  • SSDI – If Social Security has sent you and overpayment notice, they can reduce your future checks. However, you have the option to appeal or request a waiver. Learn more: How Sandra Got Her Overpayments Waived

🍎 What Happens if I Don’t Pay My Debt?

🍎 Don’t Just Take My Word For It

I am not a financial expert. Financial regulations are complex and can change. Please double check and do more reading before making any important decisions.

5 thoughts on “Who Can Take My Social Security Check?”

  1. “They will not take money back for food stamps or housing programs, only cash.”.

    I saw friends’ printouts in the past that detailed what money was being deducted from their social security settlement and they DID take deduct money to be paid back for both item categories (rent and food stamps), amounting to several thousand dollars. One of these people lodged a complaint, alerting SS and the local agency that these items are categories she was told came under “federal pass throughs” or similar wording and that all they were allowed to “recoup” was cash from “public assistance.” She was told that she was wrong and did not manage to get her money back.

    Would you please post here and elsewhere on your site any links you have to whatever gov pages spell this out and also explain what can be done, who you can complain to etc. if this happens to you when you get your settlement statements.

    Thank you!


    1. Thank you for sharing this, Kim.

      I realize what I wrote about housing programs was too vague. I believe they will not take back support from subsidized housing programs, such as homeless shelters, hud housing, section 8 etc.

      However, I could see a circumstance where they might recoup if the agency paid cash assistance for someone’s rent. I will correct that.

      I certainly have never heard of them taking back food stamps?? That does not sound right to me 😦 I would have to look to see if I could find the written reg.

      From what I have seen, if Social Security is not properly following a reg, the best thing to do is contact congressperson and senator:


    2. I wasn’t able to easily find the specific regs, but there is no indication anywhere that you ever pay back food stamps (as long as you were correctly entitled to them).

      For other kinds of aid, it would depend on what kind of agreement the person signed and what the regs are for the particular programs. Some government cash assistance programs require that the money be paid back – either when you get a job, or when you get on disability.


  2. “Some government cash assistance programs require that the money be paid back – either when you get a job, or when you get on disability.”

    Perhaps you can list what they are, if you know-or add this info to the places you post about it….


    1. Thank you Kim. I will add this info in. πŸ™‚

      There is no way for me to know exactly which programs have a payback, because every area handles this differently.

      If they are going to require the money be paid back, I believe they will have the person sign something agreeing to pay it back.


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