Can a credit card company garnish your Social Security and state retirement benefits or freeze your USA bank checking account while living abroad?

All SS benefits are exempt from private creditor action (benefits may be garnished for back alimony, child support, unpaid federal taxes and amounts due other federal agencies), most pension/retirement plans are also protected, although it is possible to garnish a portion of certain types. In regards to a bank account, if the account(s) are within the U.S. and are not held by a married couple in a state that recognizes TBE protection; the accounts could be subject to creditor levy if said creditor was awarded a lawsuit judgment. As an aside, any non-exempt property belonging to the debtor could be seized and liquidated or if real property be subjected to a lien(s)and possibly a forced sale. The debtor/defendant does not have to present in the U.S. to have a creditor lawsuit initiated and ruled upon, the defendant can have a default judgment entered against him if the plaintiff prevails.

It is important to note that once a Social Security payment has been deposited into a bank account (either by check or direct deposit) it is no longer protected.