Press Releases

April

2020

20

Statement on Attorney General James’ Guidance Blocking Banks And Debt Collectors From Garnishing Stimulus Checks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 20, 2020

CONTACT: Susan Shin, susan@neweconomynyc.org

STATEMENT ON ATTORNEY GENERAL JAMES’ GUIDANCE BLOCKING BANKS AND DEBT COLLECTORS FROM GARNISHING STIMULUS CHECKS

“We applaud Attorney General James for issuing strong guidance making clear that emergency stimulus payments authorized by the CARES Act are exempt from garnishment under New York law. Her commitment to aggressively prosecute any creditor or debt collector that garnishes New Yorkers’ stimulus payments is an example of the kind of leadership we need from our elected officials during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Now, the focus falls squarely back on Governor Cuomo to use his broad emergency powers to stop all private debt collection in New York during the COVID-19 crisis. Allowing debt collectors to continue to freeze New Yorkers’ bank accounts and garnish their wages is jeopardizing public health and safety and exacerbating racial and economic inequality.

“We urge the Governor to listen to the New Yorkers who are speaking out and sharing their stories about how debt collectors are taking the money they need for urgent necessities like rent, food, and personal protective equipment. As the epicenter of this pandemic, New York should not continue to lag behind other states in taking strong action to protect its residents from these severe financial and public health risks.”

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NOTES TO EDITORS:

  • New Economy Project recently launched a new online Story Bank, featuring powerful testimonials by New Yorkers whose health, safety, and financial security are being put at risk by ongoing debt collection during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • New Economy Project joined eight other groups in delivering a statewide petition, signed by more than 3,300 New Yorkers, to Governor Cuomo calling for a moratorium on debt collection.
  • 63 groups from across New York sent a letter to Governor Cuomo and Chief Judge Janet DiFiore calling for an immediate moratorium on private debt collection.
  • 17 NYS Senators sent a similar letter to Governor Cuomo and Chief Judge Janet DiFiore calling for an immediate moratorium on private debt collection.

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