Alana Semuels

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Alana Semuels is an American journalist working as a staff writer for Time magazine.


  • Garnishments can occur after a creditor obtains a court judgement against someone who owes them money. Some people are not aware of the court hearings, often because they have not been informed by the creditor and don’t show up to argue their cases. [...] But once a court gives the go-ahead, creditors are free to take a portion of a person's wages from their paycheck. A separate order allows them to seize money from an individual's bank account. Federal law requires that debtors are left with at least $217.50 a week in take-home pay—for a family of four, that's less than half the federal poverty level. Some states protect more income from creditors, but creditors aren't limited to targeting money. They are free to seize cars, even if a debtor needs a vehicle to get to work to earn the money to pay off their debts.

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