Imagine you are counting on that $1400 stimulus payment. You need it to pay the rent, keep the lights on, feed you family. Finally it arrives! Deposited into your account and then BAM! It's gone. Taken from you! That is a reality for some in the Capital Region.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is determined to protect residents from this if at all possible. News 10 ABC reports, James announced official guidance to keep stimulus payments from being seized by debt collectors.

This official guidance makes clear that banks and debt collectors cannot freeze or seize stimulus funds that are intended for New Yorkers, especially those most in need during this time. My office remains committed to protecting New Yorkers’ rights, and ensuring that any institution that violates this guidance will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. - Letitia James, New York Attorney General 

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What this means, for example, is that if you are a New Yorker with veterans benefits, retirement benefits or social security benefits, these benefits are excluded from garnishments by debtors. Under New York law banking institutions, creditors, and debt collectors, cannot “freeze” funds in these accounts.

CNBC states that under the terms of the American Rescue Plan, the money cannot be garnished for unpaid federal debts or back taxes. But the $1,400 stimulus checks can be garnished for unpaid private debts, such as medical bills or credit card debts, provided they are subject to a court order.

Stimulus payments are intended to get money into the community in an attempt to boost revenue at our local restaurants, stores, garages, etc. Literally meant to "stimulate" the economy but the reality is some need it just to survive.

Throughout this last 12 months of the pandemic we have had to educate ourselves on a variety of different topics. We had to adapt to wearing a mask every day. Most of us know more about the pros and cons of vaccines than we ever knew before and now we have also become budding financial experts with regard to these stimulus payments.

 

LOOK: Here are 25 ways you could start saving money today

These money-saving tips—from finding discounts to simple changes to your daily habits—can come in handy whether you have a specific savings goal, want to stash away cash for retirement, or just want to pinch pennies. It’s never too late to be more financially savvy. Read on to learn more about how you can start saving now. [From: 25 ways you could be saving money today]

 

READ ON: Here's how to apply for rent relief