Wage Garnishment FAQ

What is the wage garnishment process?

Wage garnishment is the process by which your employer deducts earnings from your paycheck and sends them to your creditor to satisfy your debt. Effective July 1, 2015, the Indiana Legislature enacted Indiana Code § 22-4-13.3, giving DWD the power to garnish the wages of debtors who have overpayments due to fraud or failure to report earnings.

How does the wage garnishment process work?

DWD issues a Notice of Wage Garnishment to a debtor. That Notice lists the overpayments that are subject to wage garnishment. The debtor is given 15 days from the date on the Notice of Wage Garnishment to contest the garnishment. If the debtor does not contest, or once the contest process is complete, DWD issues garnishment orders to each of the debtor’s employers. Pursuant to Indiana Code § 22-4-13.3, DWD is not required to obtain the order from a court of law. Each employer is required to withhold income from each of the debtor’s paychecks to pay down the debtor’s overpayments until the overpayments are paid off. The debtor will continue to receive monthly statements from DWD indicating the remaining overpayment balance. When the overpayments subject to the garnishment order are paid in full, the employer and the claimant will receive a letter from DWD indicating that the garnishment order is concluded. The employer is entitled to a fee for garnishing the debtor’s wages, and half of that fee is collectible from the debtor.

How can I avoid having my wages garnished?

To avoid having your wages garnished, you must pay the debt in full, including any accruing interest, or enter into a repayment agreement with DWD. You may make a payment by any of the following methods:

Mail your payment to

Attn: UI Trust Fund Accounting
Indiana Department of Workforce Development
10 N. Senate Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Checks or money orders must be made out to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. Include your account number on your payment.

You may make a payment via phone at 1-888-877-0450 or online at www.payingov.com/DWD.

You will be held responsible for all fees and actions arising out of unauthorized access or use with regard to payments remitted to DWD, including, but not limited to, payments returned for insufficient funds, overdrafts, stop payments, and unauthorized payments.

For balance inquiries, contact the DWD Benefit Payment Control Unit at 1-800-262-6949.

How can I set up a repayment agreement?

Contact the DWD Benefit Payment Control Unit at 1-800-262-6949 for information about whether you qualify to repay your debt on a payment plan, which is also called a repayment agreement.

Why do I owe this debt?

Any person who has received unemployment compensation benefits to which he is not entitled is liable to repay those benefits. DWD is authorized to intercept state income tax refunds, lottery winnings, and federal income tax refunds to offset unemployment compensation debts, in addition to instituting wage garnishment proceedings and civil collection actions to recoup the debts.

Whom should I contact regarding a Notice of Wage Garnishment?

If you have questions about wage garnishment or a Notice of Wage Garnishment, or any debt that you owe to DWD, you may contact the DWD Benefit Payment Control Unit at 1-800-262-6949.

What can I do if I don’t think the debt can be collected?

Within fifteen (15) days of the date on the Notice of Wage Garnishment, you may contest the Notice of Wage Garnishment. You have the burden of proving that your debt cannot be collected.

To contest a Notice of Wage Garnishment, you must make a written request for an administrative hearing before an administrative law judge in the DWD Appeals Division not later than fifteen (15) days after the date on the Notice of Wage Garnishment. You may contest the Notice on only the following grounds:

  1. that the existence, past due status, or the amount of the overpayment is incorrect;
  2. that the amount withheld was incorrectly calculated; or 
  3. that the overpayment is unenforceable as a matter of law.

You cannot use this process to contest the determination(s) that established your debt.

To request an administrative hearing on one of the three (3) grounds set forth above, send the following information to the Department:

  1. a written request containing the Garnishment Number at the top of the Notice of Wage Garnishment, your name, and your account number;
  2. all evidence supporting any of the three (3) grounds for contest; and
  3. a copy of the Notice of Wage Garnishment.

You must send all of those materials to:

Attn: Unemployment Insurance Appeals Division
Indiana Department of Workforce Development
100 N. Senate Ave., Room N-800
Indianapolis, IN 46204

The DWD Appeals Division must receive your written hearing request postmarked (if mailed), by fax at (317) 233-6888, or in person no later than the fifteenth (15th) day after the date on the Notice of Wage Garnishment. Any request for an administrative hearing not submitted in writing within that timeframe will not be accepted.

The DWD Appeals Division may hold a hearing in person or by telephone for the review of written materials and testimony or as an independent review of records submitted by you and the Department. DWD is not required to provide more than one hearing based on the same grounds or objections to the Notice of Wage Garnishment.

If you believe that you have already paid all or part of your debt, you must provide proof of payment. Proof of payment includes the following:

  1. a copy of the front and back of your payment, if payment was made by check; 
  2. the date of transaction and confirmation number, if payment was made by OPC/value payment; or 
  3. a copy of money order or certified check receipt showing money order number, date purchased, and amount of money order, if payment was made by money order or certified check.

If you have declared bankruptcy, you must provide proof that your debt is subject to a bankruptcy proceeding. Proof that your debt is subject to bankruptcy may include bankruptcy court documents showing the case number, filing date, name of the court in which you filed your bankruptcy, and the Indiana Department of Workforce Development as a creditor.

Can I appeal the original determination that established my overpayment?

When your debt was originally established, you were provided with an opportunity to appeal the original determination. The time to file an appeal of the original determination has expired.

Within fifteen (15) days of the date on the Notice of Wage Garnishment, you may contest the Notice of Wage Garnishment on only the following grounds:

  1. that the existence, past due status, or the amount of the overpayment is incorrect;
  2. that the amount withheld was incorrectly calculated; or
  3. that the overpayment is unenforceable as a matter of law.

You cannot use this process to contest the determination(s) that established your debt.

Doesn’t DWD need my permission to garnish my wages?

No. Indiana Code § 22-4-13.3 authorizes DWD to institute garnishment proceedings against debtors who owe DWD overpayments due to fraud or failure to report earnings.

What can I do if I filed for bankruptcy?

Within fifteen (15) days of the date on the Notice of Wage Garnishment, you may contest the Notice of Wage Garnishment. You have the burden of proving that your debt is rightfully subject to bankruptcy. Proof that your debt is subject to bankruptcy may include bankruptcy court documents showing the case number, filing date, name of the court in which you filed your bankruptcy, and the Indiana Department of Workforce Development as a creditor.

To contest a Notice of Wage Garnishment, you must make a written request for an administrative hearing before an administrative law judge in the DWD Appeals Division not later than fifteen (15) days after the date on the Notice of Wage Garnishment. You may contest the Notice on only the following grounds:

  1. that the existence, past due status, or the amount of the overpayment is incorrect;
  2. that the amount withheld was incorrectly calculated; or
  3. that the overpayment is unenforceable as a matter of law.

You cannot use this process to contest the determination(s) that established your debt.

To request an administrative hearing on one of the three (3) grounds set forth above, send the following information to the Department:

  1. a written request containing the Garnishment Number at the top of the Notice of Wage Garnishment, your name, and your account number;
  2. all evidence supporting any of the three (3) grounds for contest; and
  3. a copy of the Notice of Wage Garnishment.

You must send all of those materials to:

Attn: Unemployment Insurance Appeals Division
Indiana Department of Workforce Development
100 N. Senate Ave., Room N-800
Indianapolis, IN 46204

The DWD Appeals Division must receive your written hearing request postmarked (if mailed), by fax at (317) 233-6888, or in person no later than the fifteenth (15th) day after the date on the Notice of Wage Garnishment. Any request for an administrative hearing not submitted in writing within that timeframe will not be accepted.

The DWD Appeals Division may hold a hearing in person or by telephone for the review of written materials and testimony or as an independent review of records submitted by you and the Department. DWD is not required to provide more than one hearing based on the same grounds or objections to the Notice of Wage Garnishment.

If you believe that you have already paid all or part of your debt, you must provide proof of payment. Proof of payment includes the following:

  1. a copy of the front and back of your payment, if payment was made by check;
  2. the date of transaction and confirmation number, if payment was made by OPC/value payment; or
  3. a copy of money order or certified check receipt showing money order number, date purchased, and amount of money order, if payment was made by money order or certified check.

Are there any fees associated with the wage garnishment?

Your employer may charge a collection fee for garnishing your wages, up to three (3) percent of your total debt. Your employer will collect half of the collection fee from your earnings.

What if I have a repayment agreement with DWD?

If you have a repayment agreement with DWD and you have not received a broken agreement letter, missed a payment, or made a payment for less than the amount required in your agreement, you should continue to make your payments on schedule. If you entered into a repayment agreement with DWD and you missed a payment, stopped making payments, or made payments in amounts less than what is required by your repayment agreement, you have broken your repayment agreement and DWD may refer your debt for wage garnishment and other collection actions.

When will DWD stop garnishing my wages?

DWD will stop garnishing your wages when all of your debts that are eligible for the wage garnishment process are paid in full. Debts due to fraud and failure to report earnings are eligible for wage garnishment under Indiana Code § 22-4-13.3.

Can my employer retaliate against me for having a wage garnishment order?

No. Your employer is prohibited from using a Wage Garnishment Order as a basis for refusing to hire you, discharging you, or taking disciplinary action against you. If you reasonably believe that your employer took an adverse action against you based upon the Wage Garnishment Order or the income withholding process, you may file a lawsuit against the employer in a court with jurisdiction. If a court determines that the employer violated the prohibition on adverse action described above, it can order the employer to hire or reinstate you without loss of pay or benefits and fine the employer up to one thousand dollars ($1,000).