Virginia’s AG: Creditors can’t touch your stimulus

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring speaks during a news conference at the Capitol, Monday...
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring speaks during a news conference at the Capitol, Monday Jan 27, 2020, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)(Steve Helber | AP)
Updated: Dec. 31, 2020 at 5:49 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Any day now, many of you will begin receiving the $600 stimulus check approved under the COVID-19 relief bill.

Once it’s deposited, Virginia’s Attorney General is making it clear that the money belongs to you, and creditors can’t touch it. This protection is the result of a lesson learned. Virginia leaders say your stimulus should be just that – yours.

While President Donald Trump fought to give Americans a $2,000 stimulus check, the amount that will actually come your way is $600. Right now, the #600IsNotEnough hashtag is circulating on social media, and Attorney General Mark Herring agrees.

“These $600 survival payments - while not as large as they should be - should be used to help Virginians pay rent, put food on the table, buy medicine and support their families,” Herring said.

That money is expected to hit your bank account or mailbox any day now. Herring wants to make it clear, it should not be intercepted by creditors looking to collect past due debts.

“It has been tough on so many people. Businesses have had to lay people off, some have closed. People are really struggling right now,” Herring continued.

Earlier this year when the government sent out $1,200 stimulus checks, Herring says Virginia leaders noticed something.

“Nothing explicitly protected the payments from being seized by debt collectors and creditors,” Herring said.

Now there’s a state law on the books to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“In a crisis like this people should come first, not debt collectors,” he added.

Keep in mind that during times like these, scammers are on the prowl looking to trick you into handing over your cash.

“Don’t click on suspicious links. Don’t give out personal information…If they get a solicitation, whether it’s a text message, a phone call, or email saying ‘your relief payments are here. All you have to do is provide us with your bank information or personal information, Social Security number,’ or worse, ‘pay us some money,’ it is a scam. Be on the lookout for that,” Herring advised.

This law does not apply to other garnishments that may still happen on the income you receive apart from this federal stimulus.

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