PORTLAND, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown announced on Friday that she has issued a new executive order to bar creditors from garnishing federal stimulus funds bound for Oregonians' bank accounts.
Executive Order 20-18 prevents creditors or debt collectors from taking federal CARES Act recovery rebate payments. Brown's office said that it "corrects an oversight" in the federal bill, allowing Oregonians to use the funds in order to cover essential needs during the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis.
“Many Oregonians, through no fault of their own, are struggling to pay their bills, their rent, or even buy essentials like groceries and prescription drugs,” said Governor Brown. “These recovery checks were meant to provide relief, not reward debt collection agencies for preying on Oregonians who have lost their livelihoods due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Brown's office compared the order to similar protections that those who receive Social Security, disability, or veterans' benefits get — sanctuary from creditors.
"The protection does not extend to garnishments due to criminal actions requiring restitution or civil judgments based on a criminal conviction," Brown's office said. "As provided by the CARES Act, past-due child support may still be deducted before rebates are deposited in bank accounts."
More guidance on the order will have to come from the Oregon Department of Justice, Brown's office concluded.