Gov. Inslee announced a suspension of garnishments today. This is great news to the beleaguered people of Washington State. In Washington State when a judgment creditor pursues a garnishment against wages, they can take up to 25% of your take home pay, and 100% of your bank account. This can be catastrophic to your family’s budget even during good times.
Of course, this is not permanent, and without trying to sound ungrateful, the timing of it might not work out for most people. The moratorium on garnishments ends on May 14. The current “stay at home” order ends on May 4, so those people who have been furloughed from work, wouldn’t have wages to garnish anyway. Most people will go back to work on May 5, and then right about the time that their first paychecks will be coming in (around the 14th), the garnishment moratorium will be lifted.
Having said that, there is a suspension of post-judgment interest, however, for most people this (while helpful) will not amount to much. For example, let’s say that you have a judgment against you for $1,000.00. The judgment interest rate is 12%, which means that your judgment would accrue interest at a rate of $0.32 per day. So in this scenario, over the next 30 days, you would save $9.60 in interest on a $1,000 judgment. It helps, but it sounds more substantial than it really might amount to.
Of course any relief is appreciated, and I am happy that the Governor’s office is looking into how to help the people of Washington. We are going to have to strike a balance between the interests of creditors and debtors in a time like this, but honestly the relief really needs to extend in several months after the stay at home order ends, because that is the time when we will really feel the economic effects.