Can my wages be garnished in Alaska without me knowing?

Question

Can my wages be garnished in Alaska without me knowing?

Answer

A creditor cannot garnish your wages in Alaska without first suing you in court and obtaining a court order requiring your employer to garnish your wages.  Under the law, no more than 25% of your total disposable income may be garnished.  Also, Alaska law provides that a debtor can exempt at least $350 out of his or her net earnings under the Alaska Exemptions Act (“the Act”).  Net earnings and disposable income are defined as income after deductions are taken out.  Annually, a debtor in Alaska can exempt at least $18,200 of the debtor’s net earnings.  Alaska wage garnishment laws provide more exemptions than other states.  The following types of income may not be garnished under the Act:

  • State and local pensions, including public employees, judges, state employees, and teachers.
  • Public benefits or assistance such as workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits, aid to families with dependent children, aid to the blind and social security
  • Insurance benefits such as disability payments; life insurance proceeds if the beneficiary (who is also the debtor) is the insured’s spouse or dependent, medical benefits, or proceeds from a personal injury or wrongful death case.
  • Alimony or spousal support up to the wage or salary exemption amount; child support collections made by the child support services agency.  

All other income, including private employee pensions ,may be garnished. Under Alaska wage garnishment laws, the creditor has 10 years after the judgment is issued to garnish the debtor’s wages.  You should speak with an Alaskan debt settlement attorney if you have been sued and/or your creditor has obtained a wage garnishment order. The attorney can use legal defenses in court to challenge the garnishment.     

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