Last week, Gov. Kate Brown issued Executive Order 20-18, preventing creditors or debt collectors from garnishing federal CARES Act recovery rebate payments. The governor’s office says the order corrects an oversight in the federal legislation, ensuring that Oregonians can use the funds for their intended purpose: covering the costs of essential needs during the COVID-19 public health crisis.
“Many Oregonians, through no fault of their own, are struggling to pay their bills, their rent, or even buy essentials like groceries and prescription drugs,” said Governor Brown. “These recovery checks were meant to provide relief, not reward debt collection agencies for preying on Oregonians who have lost their livelihoods due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Other government payments have this protection: The order affords Oregonians receiving CARES Act rebates the same protection from garnishment as the recipients of other government payments, such as Social Security, disability, and veterans’ benefits. The protection does not extend to garnishments due to criminal actions requiring restitution or civil judgments based on a criminal conviction. As provided by the CARES Act, past-due child support may still be deducted before rebates are deposited in bank accounts.