March 29, 2021

Indiana Court Allows Seizure Of Federal Relief Payments

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana residents with past-due debts could see that money taken from the new federal pandemic relief payments that have been arriving in bank accounts.

The Indiana Supreme Court this past week turned down an emergency petition filed by advocates for low-income families that sought to protect those payments of up to $1,400 a person from garnishment by private creditors.

That request was made because the American Rescue Plan signed by Democratic President Joe Biden does not include the same protections against seizures that applied to previous CARES Act payments.

Indiana Legal Services and five other groups asked the state Supreme Court to block the use of court collection orders to take any of the relief payments. The groups argued that such actions would deprive “those most in need of such funds for food, shelter, utilities, medicine, transportation or other essentials of life.”

The state Supreme Court issued an order that all five justices agreed to deny the request but didn’t explain the decision.

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