How to protect your stimulus relief check from debt collectors

Published: May. 6, 2020 at 8:09 PM EDT
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Many Americans are relying on stimulus relief money sent out by the federal government to pay for essentials like rent or food, but if you have outstanding debts with creditors you could be in for disappointment.

InvestigateTV's Rachel DePompa reports that, although the payments can't be seized for taxes or federal student loan debt, they can be diverted if you're facing a private debt collection action.

Personal Finance expert Kim Palmer with NerdWallet says to prevent this the only thing you can really do is turn that money into cash- quickly.

Palmer said, "So, if you receive a check in the mail, if that's how you receive your stimulus check, you want to cash that check and then use it right away to buy your essentials."

What about if you got your check via direct deposit? Palmer said, "If you receive a direct deposit, you don't want to leave the money sitting there in your bank account where it could be taken. You want to withdraw the money and then again use it to buy those essentials that you need."

DePompa says grocery stores or other merchants may accept the checks and provide cash back, but be aware of check-cashing fees.

InvestigateTV News Content Specialist Rachel DePompa contributed to this report.
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