On April 20, the Indiana Supreme Court issued a published order protecting coronavirus stimulus checks from court orders placing a hold on, attaching, or garnishing funds attributable to a stimulus payment. The order is available here.
Six days earlier, four entities had petitioned the Indiana Supreme Court to act under its emergency rulemaking authority to address this issue. Indiana Legal Services, Prosperity Indiana, Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, and Indiana Institute for Working Families requested the Court to protect the stimulus payments “authorized by Section 2201 of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“stimulus payments”) from attempts by private creditors to attach or garnish those payments during the 2019 novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) emergency.” The Court invited and reviewed briefing from the creditors’ bar.
Having considered all of the arguments and acting under its emergency rulemaking authority, the Court ordered that:
- Courts shall issue no new orders placing a hold on, attaching, or garnishing funds in a judgment-debtor’s account in a depository institution as defined in the Depository Financial Institutions Adverse Claims Act, I.C. § 28-9-1-1, et seq., if those funds are attributable to a stimulus payment, except that this prohibition shall not apply to judgments or orders for payment of child support.
- As for any previously issued court orders placing a hold on a judgment-debtor’s account in a depository institution, the judgment-debtor shall be entitled, upon request, to a hearing (either in-person or remotely, as local circumstances permit), within two business days of the court’s receipt of said request, to determine which funds in the account are attributable to a stimulus payment and for the judgment-debtor to assert any exemption(s) under state or federal law. Courts shall treat such hearings as “essential” and “urgent” under this Court’s orders of March 16 and 23, 2020 in 20S-CB-123.
This order remains in place until the COVID-19 public health emergency expires or the Court otherwise orders.