While you can collect Social Security while owing money to the Internal Revenue Service, it's likely you won't be able to collect the entire monthly amount for which you're eligible. The IRS can garnish your Social Security payments until the amount you owe -- along with interest and penalties -- is paid. By law, the IRS can levy retirement, disability and survivor Social Security payments, but not Supplemental Social Security income, children's benefits or death benefits.
Federal Payment Levy
If you owe outstanding federal income tax debt, the IRS can take up to 15 percent of your monthly Social Security benefits. It can also impose this levy if you have outstanding federal student or home loans or other federal debt, as well as alimony or child support. You'll receive adequate warning of the IRS' intention to garnish your Social Security payments. The agency sends you three notices prior to starting garnishment, and you can stop the procedure if you pay what is due within 30 days of receipt of the third notice.
Under the manual levy program, the IRS can take a higher percentage of your Social Security benefits, as long as you receive enough money for "reasonable living expenses."