Paycheck Protection Program: CARES Act checks protected from garnishments by Ohio state law

In a news release yesterday, Ohio Attorney General David Yost warned creditors that CARES Act checks are protected by Ohio state law.

“The stimulus checks were intended to be used during an emergency – to put food on the table, keep the lights on, and a roof over our heads,” Yost said. “It wasn’t meant to pay off an old bill.”

The law to which Yost is referring is Ohio Revised Code Section 2329.66 which exempts property from “execution, garnishment, attachment, or sale to satisfy a judgment or order” under certain circumstances including:

A payment in compensation for loss of future earnings of the person or an individual of whom the person is or was a dependent, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any of the debtor’s dependents.

ORC Section 2329.66(A)(12)(d).

Ohio Attorney General Yost also posted a NOTICE OF APPLICAPBILITY OF STATE LAW EXEMPTION TO PAYMENTS UNDER THE FEDERAL CARES ACT on his website, which can be found here.  According to the Notice:

The payments under the CARES Act are in the nature of emergency support, designed to support basic needs of tens of millions of Americans. This is why debts owed to the Federal and State governments are not being withheld from the payments. Although there is no explicit exemption for CARES Act payments under federal law, Ohio law protects them.

In his notice, Yost indicates that the State of Ohio is reserving the right to enforce this state law against creditors who try to collect against these CARES Act checks.

Watch our blog for more updates, and feel free to contact Rebecca L. Simpson (513.797.2856) for more information.