July 23,2020

Grassley Praises Passage of Bill to Prevent Garnishment of Relief Payments

Statement for the Record by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa

Chairman, Senate Finance Committee

Thursday, July 23, 2020


I am pleased that earlier today the Senate passed S. 3841 by unanimous consent. This is a common sense measure that will ensure the $1,200 Economic Impact Payments Congress provided to help individuals meet essential needs during these trying times don’t instead end up in the pockets of creditors and debt collectors.


The CARES Act, which authorized the Economic Impact Payments, sought to ensure that individuals in need received 100 percent of the payment they are eligible for by generally exempting such payments from administrative offset for past due debts owed to federal or state agencies. However, as currently written this language does not protect these payments from bank garnishment or levy by creditors or debt collectors. 


The bill we passed today will further the original intent under the CARES Act of ensuring that the Economic Impact Payments go to help individuals struggling to make ends meet as a result of government enforced lockdowns and economic fallout of the current pandemic. It does this by extending protections against bank garnishment to Economic Impact Payments that are very similar to what is provided to Social Security benefits under current law. Moreover, it continues the policy under the CARES Act of providing an exception for child support enforcement orders to ensure non-custodial parents who owe back child support fulfill their legal and moral obligations to their children.


I would like to thank Senators Brown, Wyden and Scott of South Carolina for working with me on this important bill. I hope that the House passes an identical measure as soon as possible so that we can get a bill to the President’s desk and these protections can be put into effect.