Questions Concerning Deductions Under Garnishment Order

B-204875: Published: Jan 8, 1982. Publicly Released: Jun 4, 1985.

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In response to a constituent's inquiries, a congressman requested that GAO address questions concerning deductions for child support from a retired military member's pay under a garnishment order. Due to certain other deductions being made to liquidate a debt owed to the United States, the member's former wife was receiving approximately $20 less a month than was stated in the court order. She questioned whether these deductions should take precedence over the deductions under the garnishment order. She noted that the GAO Manual for Guidance of Federal Agencies provided an order of precedence for deductions of pay which placed garnishments for child support ahead of indebtedness to the United States. However, she indicated that the Army advised her that the garnishment statute and regulations provided otherwise. GAO stated that the information the Army provided to the wife was correct and that the Manual was only designed to provide advice in various situations. However, GAO also stated that the two sources should be consistent and steps were being taken to revise the Manual in accordance with the statute.

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