March 1, 2021 — Issue Brief

Congress has enacted extraordinary relief for families hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

That relief includes two rounds of Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) and – in the new package about to be passed – a third round of EIP payments and enhanced Child Tax Credits (CTC) for low-income families, with half of the CTC payments to be paid in advance in periodic payments beginning in July.

But the new stimulus payments will lack garnishment protection. Due to the constraints of the reconciliation process that the Senate used to approve the new package, if Congress does not act, debt collectors will once again be seize the new round of stimulus payments to pay ancient debts – as they did last year. Taxpayer funds intended to feed families will instead feed debt collectors.