Administrative Wage Garnishment Hearing
You May Request an Administrative Wage Garnishment Hearing
If you have been notified that the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) intends to collect your debt by garnishing your wages via your employer, you have the right to request a hearing of your account and circumstances before the garnishment begins.
To request a hearing, click here , complete the PDF (portable document format) form, save it to your computer, print, sign, and mail it to the address shown on the form.
The Department uses garnishment to collect after attempts to obtain voluntary payments have failed. After numerous attempts to convince the borrower to repay his or her defaulted student loan(s) held by the Department, a Department employee or representative [Private Collection Agency: (PCA)], after verifying the borrower's address and place of employment, sends a series of notices/letters that warn the borrower to enter repayment or the Department will use garnishment to recover that debt.
The Department starts the garnishment process itself by sending the borrower a Notice of Intent to Garnish, which gives the borrower 30 days to file a request for review of objection(s) to the garnishment action and states his rights under the process. If the borrower's request is filed in a timely manner (within 30 days of the date of the Letter), the Department suspends further action until the Department has considered and ruled on all objection(s). However, if the request is filed in an untimely manner, the Department does not suspend action while the Department considers the objections, and proceeds to issue a garnishment order to the employer. However, if the Department has not issued a decision regarding the objections within 60 days of the hearing request, the Department will notify the employer to suspend garnishment until the Department has issued a decision ruling that garnishment should be pursued to enforce the debt. If the Department determines that the objections raised in the request for review are not proven, the Department then notifies the employer to resume withholding pursuant to the garnishment order.
The debtor may object to garnishment on a number of grounds:
- The debtor may object that the debt does not exist, or is not owed in the amount claimed by the government.
- The debtor may object that applicable law bars the government from enforcing the debt as claimed, or prevents the government from enforcing the debt by garnishment action at the current time.
- The debtor may object that garnishment in the amount or rate stated in the Notice of Intent to Garnish would create an undue financial hardship for the borrower and his or her family.
The Department uses contractors to assist in the garnishment process. Contractors may, for example, assist by gathering documents and information needed to evaluate the debtor's claims, and may negotiate repayment agreements on behalf of the Department. Only the Department hearing official has authority to determine the validity of the debtor's objections to garnishment, and only the Department issues the final decision on the merits of those objections.
Borrowers may object to the proposed garnishment action on grounds such as the following:
Validity of the claim as stated in the notice:
- The loan was previously paid or settled in full
- The loan is currently in repayment or the debtor has entered into and complied with the terms of a repayment agreement
- The amount claimed to be owed on the loan is incorrect because some payments have not been credited
- The loan was discharged in bankruptcy
- The loan is unenforceable due to the loan may be subject to discharge in whole or in part due to:
- Closure of the School attended by the borrower with the loan proceeds
- Ability to Benefit falsely certified by the school that approved the loan.
- Unauthorized Signature or Forgery of the borrower's name on the promissory note or disbursement checks.
- Public Service Cancellation (Perkins loans only)
- Unpaid Refunds owed by the school attended by the borrower with the loan proceeds.
- Death or total and permanent disability of the borrower.
Financial Hardship: garnishment of fifteen (15%) percent of disposable income will create an undue financial hardship on the borrower or family.
- Current enforceability of the claim is barred by law:
- The debt cannot be enforced at this time because the borrower has filed for relief in bankruptcy and the automatic stay is still in effect.
- The borrower has been reemployed within the past 12 months after being involuntarily terminated from the previous job.
The borrower is responsible for providing documentation or evidence to substantiate any objection(s) raised in defense to the enforcement of the debt.
All AWG Request for Hearing forms must be submitted in writing to the following address:
US DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
ATTN: AWG HEARINGS BRANCH
PO BOX 5227
GREENVILLE TX 75403-5227