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Bet Tzedek Calls Passage of SB 616 a Victory for Low-Income Californians Seeking Debt Relief

Bet Tzedek is thrilled to share that after two years of non-stop advocacy, the California Low Income Consumer Coalition (of which Bet Tzedek is a founding member) (as sponsor) and Senator Wieckowski (as author) have succeeded in achieving a historic statutory victory for Californians struggling with debt.  Debt collectors have the right to put a levy on the bank account of a debtor, but until now, there were no limits on the amount that could be seized.  SB 616 exempts $1,724 from levy, ensuring that low-income Californians in particular will still be able to meet minimum living expenses if a debt collector levies their bank account.  This change brings California into line with 16 other states with similar exemptions. The exemption does not erase debt, but it does prevent a debt levy from creating a situation where a person cannot access some reserve funds to pay for rent, medication, transportation or other urgent expenses and therefore falls further into debt, joblessness, and even homelessness.

For more information about what this change means for low-income Californians, read this column from October 8, 2019, by the @LATimes David Lazarus: https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2019-10-08/california-debt-collectors-sb616-david-lazarus