March 17, 2021

Brown, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Protect Stimulus Checks from Debt Collectors

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senate Finance Committee Chairman, Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), introduced a bill to protect the stimulus checks provided in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan from garnishment by private debt collectors.

“We passed the American Rescue Plan to put money in people’s pockets so they can pay their bills, not to line the pockets of predatory private debt collectors. Our bill would mean American workers and their families don’t have to worry their stimulus checks will be gobbled up by financial predators, and the House should pass it immediately,” said Senator Brown.

“Relief payments are intended for struggling families, not predatory private debt collectors. Our legislation would ensure help gets to the folks who need it to pay rent and buy groceries. Senate Republicans supported this critical protection in the December relief package, and we hope to pass our bill right away,” said Senator Wyden.

“Countless New Jerseyans are struggling to get by during the pandemic and need all the help they can get.  For many families, the stimulus checks are a lifeline to help pay rent or a mortgage and put food on the table,” Senator Menendez said.  “No predatory debt collector should be able to sweep in and swipe these funds from those who need it most.  Congress must pass this bill without delay.” 

“The direct payments included in the American Rescue Plan are meant to help families put food on the table and pay their bills. They are not intended to provide a windfall to private debt collectors or predatory lenders. This legislation will protect Americans’ direct payments from these abusive practices right now, as we continue our work to rein in predatory lenders and unscrupulous debt collection practices on a more permanent basis going forward,” said Senator Van Hollen.  

In July, Congress passed Chairman Brown’s legislation to protect CARES Act recovery payments from being garnished by private debt collectors