The main purpose behind the Debt Counsel for Seniors and the Disabled legal service is to ensure that creditors and collectors do not illegally garnish a client’s income. Since the inception of the legal service, no client has lost his Social Security or other protected income to a creditor. Once debt collectors have filed a lawsuit to attempt to collect a debt, a typical method used to try to acquire money from a debtor is to garnish the debtor’s bank account. Social Security garnishment and disability garnishment are illegal, but that does not mean that collectors cannot legally place a freeze on a debtor’s bank account until the debtor proves that the account only contains protected funds.
Usually, the debtor must respond to a bank account garnishment
by going to court and pleading his case before a judge. This is stressful, time consuming, and entirely avoidable if the debtor had simply closed his bank account and had his benefit checks sent directly to his home while any lawsuits run their course.
Clients of DCSD are able to avoid bank freezes by switching their direct deposit checking account to a DCSD cooperating bank, ABC Bank of Chicago, IL. ABC Bank of Chicago has agreed not to honor any bank freeze orders of the DCSD clients' accounts whose direct deposits involve income exempt from garnishment, i.e. Social Security and Veteran Benefit and Pensions. This enables the client to have a freeze proof checking account. ABC Bank of Chicago has agreed to accept DCSD clients' accounts from all over the country.