Millions of Americans are still grappling with debt they've accumulated since the recession hit. And new numbers out Monday show many are having a tougher time than you might think.
One in 10 working Americans between the ages of 35 and 44 are getting their wages garnished. That means their pay is being docked — often over an old credit card debt, medical bill or student loan.
That striking figure comes out of a collaboration between NPR and ProPublica. The reporting offers the first available national numbers on wage garnishment. : NPR
This week, NPR and ProPublica are reporting on a striking change in the way debt collectors pursue people in this country. On the heels of the worst recession in generations, 1 in 10 working Americans between the ages of 35 and 44 is getting his or her wages garnished. That means their pay is being docked — often over an old credit card debt, medical bill or student loan.
But just how much money can collectors legally seize from people's wages and bank accounts? The answer is more than you might think.
In about half the states in the country, collectors can seize 25 percent of your paycheck. In all but a handful of states, they can take everything in your bank account.
A new study provides the first-ever tally of how many employees lose up to a quarter of their paychecks over debts like unpaid credit card or medical bills and student loans.
U.S. consumers have made a lot of progress in paring down the extreme debt loads that helped make the 2008 financial crisis such an epochal disaster. Fresh data from the Federal Reserve, though, offer an important caveat: Millions of the poorest families are still very deep in the hole -- and might be getting deeper.
The triennial Survey of Consumer Finances, released by the Fed last week, confirms an overall improvement in the state of U.S. household finances. The average debt burden for all families stood at about 105 percent of pretax income in 2013, down from about 125 percent in 2010 and the lowest level since the 2001 survey.