Q & A Session – Garnishment of FERS Annuity Retirement Benefits


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


Are FERS annuity retirement benefits subject to garnishment by the state court as a result of a civil verdict?


That depends on the type of civil lawsuit. Generally, FERS benefits may not be garnished by state courts. This is explained by Title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 838. There is an important exception to this rule though. Title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 581 and 582, permits state courts to order FERS garnishments in some cases concerning spousal separation, divorce, child support or child abuse.

However, your FERS annuity may be just one of several sources of income and assets you possess. Those other sources of income may be vulnerable in a wider range of civil verdicts.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC.


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About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to lawyer@federaltimes.com.

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