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Title 31: Money and Finance: Treasury
Appendix A to Part 212—Model Notice to Account Holder
A financial institution may use the following model notice to meet the requirements of §212.7. Although use of the model notice is not required, a financial institution using it properly is deemed to be in compliance with §212.7.
Information in brackets should be completed by the financial institution. Where the bracketed information indicates a choice of words, as indicated by a slash, the financial institution should either select the appropriate words or provide substitute words suitable to the garnishment process in a given jurisdiction.
Parenthetical wording in italics represents instructions to the financial institution and should not be printed with the notice. In most cases, this wording indicates that the model language either is optional for the financial institution, or should only be included if some condition is met.
[Financial institution name, city, and State, shown as letterhead or otherwise printed at the beginning of the notice]
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR ACCOUNT
Why am I receiving this notice?
On [date on which garnishment order was served], [Name of financial institution] received a garnishment order from a court to [freeze/remove] funds in your account. The amount of the garnishment order was for $[amount of garnishment order]. We are sending you this notice to let you know what we have done in response to the garnishment order.
What is garnishment?
Garnishment is a legal process that allows a creditor to remove funds from your [bank]/[credit union] account to satisfy a debt that you have not paid. In other words, if you owe money to a person or company, they can obtain a court order directing your [bank]/[credit union] to take money out of your account to pay off your debt. If this happens, you cannot use that money in your account.
What has happened to my account?
On [date of account review], we researched your account and identified one or more Federal benefit payments deposited in the last 2 months. In most cases, Federal benefit payments are protected from garnishment. As required by Federal regulations, therefore, we have established a “protected amount” of funds that will remain available to you and that will not be [frozen/removed] from your account in response to the garnishment order.
(Conditional paragraph if funds have been frozen) Your account contained additional money that may not be protected from garnishment. As required by law, we have [placed a hold on/removed] these funds in the amount of $[amount frozen] and may have to turn these funds over to your creditor as directed by the garnishment order.
The chart below summarizes this information about your account(s):
Account Summary as of [date of account review]
(If the account holder has multiple accounts, add a row for each account.)
Please note that these amount(s) may be affected by deposits or withdrawals after the protected amount was calculated on [date of account review].
Do I need to do anything to access my protected funds?
You may use the “protected amount” of money in your account as you normally would. There is nothing else that you need to do to make sure that the “protected amount” is safe.
Who garnished my account?
The creditor who obtained a garnishment order against you is [name of creditor].
What types of Federal benefit payments are protected from garnishment?
In most cases, you have protections from garnishment if the funds in your account include one or more of the following Federal benefit payments:
• Social Security benefits
• Supplemental Security Income benefits
• Veterans benefits
• Railroad retirement benefits
• Railroad Unemployment Insurance benefits
• Civil Service Retirement System benefits
• Federal Employees Retirement System benefits
(Conditional section if funds have been frozen) What should I do if I think that additional funds in my account are from Federal benefit payments?
If you believe that additional funds in your account(s) are from Federal benefit payments and should not have been [frozen/removed], there are several things you can do.
(Conditional sentence if applicable for the jurisdiction) You can fill out a garnishment exemption form and submit it to the court.
You may contact the creditor that garnished your account and explain that additional funds are from Federal benefit payments and should be released back to you. (Conditional sentence if contact information is in the garnishment order) The creditor may be contacted at [contact information included in the garnishment order].
You may also consult an attorney (lawyer) to help you prove to the creditor who garnished your account that additional funds are from Federal benefit payments and cannot be taken. If you cannot afford an attorney, you can seek assistance from a free attorney or a legal aid society. (Optional sentences) [Name of State, local, or independent legal aid service] is an organization that provides free legal aid and can be reached at [contact information]. You can find information about other free legal aid programs at [insert “http://www.lawhelp.org” or other legal aid programs website].
(Optional section) How to contact [name of financial institution].
This notice contains all the information that we have about the garnishment order. However, if you have a question about your account, you may contact us at [contact number].