Many of us will be getting the third “stimulus” check from the US Treasury as a part of the American Rescue Plan Act signed by the President on March 10th. People who qualify (those who earn less than $75,000.00 for singles and $150,000 for married people who filed their taxes jointly), will get $1400.00 per person. That can add up to a lot of money for families!! But, if you owe money to creditors, some of those that you owe may be able to garnish (seize) it right away. Which ones can get it and which cannot? Who cannot get the money? Someone you owe for child support, and tax debts owed to the IRS. Who can get the money and seize your bank account once the money comes in? Anyone else you owe, called “private debts”. So if there’s a lawsuit against you for unpaid credit card, medical debt, or damages from a car accident, these creditors can freeze your bank account and take the money. The explanation is here If the money makes it to your account by direct deposit, and a company already has a garnishment Order on it, you won’t be able to stop them from taking the money. But, if there’s not a court order, you may still be able to plan and protect the money. If you decide to file for Bankruptcy protection in Illinois, for example, you can protect $4000.00 per person worth of your personal property, called the “wildcard exemption”. That includes everything you own, such as furniture and other items in your house, and money in the bank. So there may be a way to protect it, with proper planning and advice from a bankruptcy attorney. It is important to get a handle on your finances now, and we can help you navigate your way out of trouble, and so you can land on your feet after the crazy, unpredictable year we have all been through. We’re here to help. Daniel J. Winter 312-789-999