If you work for a state hospital, and you had either a federal or state sponsored loan, they absolutely CAN garnish your wages. I found this out recently when a co-worker had this happen to him. He said that initially, he had made some payments, then filed for deferments until he could get back on his feet. He let it lapse, stopped making payments, but also stopped getting a tax return because it went straight to paying off his student loan (he said that he had a Stafford Loan, which I think is federally sponsored, which would explain why he didn't get his tax return...I don't know for sure), so he thought this meant he was current in his payments. Then got a letter from someone (it is still unclear to me WHO sent him this letter, but I am assuming it was from either state or federal government) stating that they were going to start garnishing his wages if he didn't respond to the letter.
He was in a panic, and asked me if they could actually do this, and if I had heard of this before. I had no idea, but told him to call HR to see if they knew anything about the process, and sure enough, the HR person said that is was routine. HR told him that there is some kind of payment plan that can be arranged with the company so that only a percentage of your wages are garnished. He owed something like 20 grand, and they ended up taking only $300/mo out of his salary. He had to sign a contract (the only reason I know so much detail about this is because he asked me to go with him to HR and witness his signature-and then I had to sign as a witness.) that listed out the amount to be taken out every month and an end date for pay off. He always asks me if he can work overtime to compensate, and he takes as much OT as I can give him, so it doesn't hurt so much.
I haven't talked to him about this in a while, but I wonder if his credit improved because of the agreement or if it was hurt because of the garnishment-I am curious, but I know this is a sensitive subject for him, so I haven't asked. Anyone know the answer to this?
RNewbie-just sit tight until you can talk to HR. I have no idea if they can take your entire paycheck, but I think that you can make some kind of arrangement with the company and HR like my co-worker did.