Coalition asks Governor Walz to make an executive order prohibiting the garnishment of the federal stimulus payments provided under the CARES Act

Tháng tư 16, 2020
The Honorable Tim Walz
Governor
State of Minnesota
130 Capitol
St. Paul, MN 55155
Re: Protection of Federal Stimulus Payments from Garnishment

Kính thưa thống đốc Walz:

The undersigned community and legal services organizations write to urge you to issue, as soon as possible, an Executive Order prohibiting the garnishment of the federal stimulus payments provided under the CARES Act.1 While the CARES Act carved out exemptions from seizure or offsets for government debts owed, the stimulus payments may be taken by private debt collectors.2

Đáng buồn thay, what we fear is already materializing here and elsewhere. The New York Times today reported that a Minnesota woman and her husband, a disabled veteran, lost 100% of their stimulus payments, which they had been “counting onto help pay rent and buy formula for [their] 10-month-old daughter.”3 To prevent these very kind of harms, this week the Governors of Illinois and Washington have suspended garnishments relating to consumer debt collection.4

That these payments were meant to help Americans in need and not be diverted to debt collectors was made clear by United States Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) in a letter, dated April 9th, to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. Prophetically, they warned that “direct payments are at risk of being seized by debt collectors” and clarified “[mà] is not what Congress intended.”5 And, notably, because the financial institutions must and do follow the law, the American Bankers Association and other banking groups, the National Creditors Bar Association, and Receivables Management Association International (representing debt buyers) all support keeping these funds sacrosanct and seek governmental authorization to allow them to not freeze bank accounts and seize stimulus payments.6

In this time of need, with so many Minnesotans anxious about not only their personal health and safety, but also their financial stability, it is essential that while the pandemic rages Minnesotans are able to marshal all their available resources to continue to be able to buy food and medicine for their families, pay the rent or mortgage, pay utility bills, and survive.

Xem thêm, an alarming number of seniors are saddled with debt. According to the National Council on Aging, “more seniors are carrying debt into retirementthan ever before, and the amount of debt burden has skyrocketed over the past decade.”7 This includes significant medical and credit card debt – all of which is subject to seizure unless an Executive Order protecting the stimulus payments is issued.

Rõ ràng, the financial fragility of elder Minnesotans and all Minnesotans has been substantially exacerbated under the current circumstances. As of April 7, nhiều hơn 11% of Minnesotans have applied for unemployment.8 And Legal Aid estimates that tens of thousands of Minnesotans are not eligible for the unemployment stimulus.

Without protection against garnishment of the stimulus payments, the harm done to Minnesotans will be irreparable. Do đó, we respectfully ask that you issue an Executive Order that would exempt all federal stimulus payments, except for child support, made to any person residing in the state, either under the CARES Act, Public Law 116-136, or any subsequent congressional act, from garnishment, attachment, or seizure under Minnesota Statutes, section 571.91 để 571.915, chapter 550, or chapter 551. Thank you so much for your leadership during this crisis and your consideration of this urgent request.

Trân trọng,

  • Ron Elwood, Supervising Attorney, on behalf of the Legal Services Advocacy Project and
  • Jason Adkins, Giám đốc điều hành, Minnesota công giáo hội nghị
  • Dave Anderson, Giám đốc điều hành, All Parks Alliance for Change
  • Sean Burke, Public Policy Director, Minnesota Elder Justice Center
  • Michael Dahl, Public Policy Director, HOME Line
  • Phil Duran, Director of Advocacy and Research, JustUs y tế
  • Tracy Fischman, Giám đốc điều hành, Chuẩn bị + Prosper
  • Bill Grant, Giám đốc điều hành, Minnesota Community Action Partnership
  • Julie Gugin, Tổng thống, Minnesota Homeownership Center
  • Cristen Incitti, Giám đốc điều hành, Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota
  • Veena Iyer, Giám đốc điều hành, Trung tâm luật nhập cư Minnesota
  • Sharon Jones, Giám đốc điều hành, Trợ giúp pháp lý của Quận Dakota, Ltd.
  • Anne Krisnik, Giám đốc điều hành, Liên minh tôn giáo lập pháp
  • Nan Madden, Director, Dự án ngân sách Minnesota
  • Sally Nankivell, Giám đốc điều hành, Đội quân LegalCORPS
  • Anna Odegaard, Legislative Advocate, Liên minh xây dựng tài sản Minnesota
  • Meghan Olsen Biebighauser, Congregational Organizer for Economic Justice, Minneapolis Area Synod of the ECLA
  • Sara Nelson-Pallmeyer, Giám đốc điều hành, Exodus Lending
  • Jennifer J. Polzin, CEO, Tubman
  • Karen Reid, Giám đốc điều hành, Neighborhood Development Alliance (NeDA)
  • Dave Snyder, Organizing Director, Cộng đồng Do Thái hành động
  • Erin Sutton, Advocacy Manager, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota

c.c.:

  • The Honorable Peggy Flanagan, Lieutenant Governor, State of Minnesota
  • The Honorable Keith Ellison, Minnesota Attorney General
  • The Honorable Melissa Hortman, Loa của ngôi nhà, Minnesota House of Representatives
  • The Honorable Paul Gazelka, Lãnh tụ đa số, Thượng viện Minnesota
  • The Honorable Kurt Daudt, Minority Leader, Minnesota House of Representatives
  • The Honorable Susan Kent, Minority Leader, Thượng viện Minnesota
  • The Honorable John Lesch, Chair, Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Division, Minnesota House of Representatives
  • The Honorable Warren Limmer, Chair, Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee, Thượng viện Minnesota
  • The Honorable Laurie Halverson, Chair, Commerce Committee, Minnesota House of Representatives
  • The Honorable Gary Dahms, Chair, Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Committee, Thượng viện Minnesota
  • The Honorable Peggy Scott, Republican Lead, Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Division, Minnesota House of Representatives
  • The Honorable Ron Latz, Ranking Minority Member, Judiciary and Pub. Safety Finance and Policy Comm., Thượng viện Minnesota
  • The Honorable Tim O’Driscoll, Republican Lead, Commerce Committee, Minnesota House of Representatives
  • The Honorable Dan Sparks, Ranking Minority Member, Comm. and Cons. Protection Finance and Policy Comm., Minn. Thượng viện
  • The Honorable Kelly Moller, Vice-Chair, Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Division, Minnesota House of Representatives
  • The Honorable Dan Hall, Vice-Chair, Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee, Thượng viện Minnesota
  • The Honorable Zach Stephenson, Vice-Chair, Commerce Committee, Minnesota House of Representatives
  • The Honorable Karin Housley, Vice-Chair, Commerce and Cons. Protection Finance and Policy Committee, Thượng viện Minnesota
  • Mr. Steve Kelley, Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Commerce
  • Bà. Emily Lefholz, Policy Advisor, Office of Governor and Lt. Governor
  • Mr. Jon Kelly, Policy Advisor, Office of the Governor and Lt. Governor
  • Bà. Carly Melin, Government Affairs Director, Office of the Minnesota Attorney General
  • Bà. Megan Verdeja, Director of Government Affairs, Minnesota Department of Commerce

  1. 1 Child support payments would still be subject to garnishment.
  2. CARES Act, Pub. L. Không. 116-136, SEC. 2201(d).
  3. Emily Flitter and Alan Rappeport, Some Banks Keep Customers’ Stimulus Checks if Accounts Are Overdrawn, NEW YORK TIMES, Tháng tư 16, 2020; available at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/16/business/stimulus-paychecks-garnishbanks.html?smtyp=cur&smid=fb-nytimes. See also Kelly Davis, Private debt collectors can access stimulus money from personal
    bank accounts, advocacy groups warn, WGN9, Tháng tư 14, 2020; at https://wgntv.com/news/coronavirus/private-debt-collectorscan-access-stimulus-money-from-personal-bank-accounts-advocacy-groups-warn/. See also John Roberts, Debt collectors could seize your stimulus check before you have a chance to use it, lawmakers warn, FORTUNE, Tháng tư 13, 2020; tại
    https://fortune.com/2020/04/13/stimulus-check-payment-debt-collectors-when-will-it-arrive-coronavirus-checks-cares-act-irstreasury/
  4. See State of Illinois, Executive Order 2020-25 (Tháng tư 14, 2020); at https://www2.illinois.gov/Pages/ExecutiveOrders/ExecutiveOrder2020-25.aspx and State of Washington, Đặt hàng 20-49, PROCLAMATION BY THE GOVERNOR AMENDING PROCLAMATION 20-05 (Tháng tư
  5. Letter from Sherrod Brown and Josh Hawley, United States Senators, to Steven Mnuchin, Secretary, Department of Treasury (Tháng tư 15, 2020).
  6. See Letter from American Bankers Association et al. to Congress (Tháng tư 15, 2020); National Creditors Bar Association, The National Creditors Bar Association (NCBA) Supports Exemption of CARES Act Stimulus Payments from Garnishment (Tháng tư 16, 2020); and Letter from Receivables Management Association International to Steven Mnuchin, Secretary, Department of Treasury (Tháng tư 13, 2020).
  7. National Council on Aging, Senior Debt Facts; at https://www.ncoa.org/economic-security/money-management/debt/seniordebt-facts/
  8. Dane Mizutani, Unemployment in Minnesota: 11.4 percent of labor force has applied for help during coronavirus crisis, PIONEER PRESS, Apr. 8, 2020; có sẵn tại: https://www.twincities.com/2020/04/07/unemployment-in-minnesota-11-4-percent-of-laborforce-has-applied-during-covid-19-crisis/

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