Opinion / Politics / Press Releases

Garnishment of Social Security Benefits for Student Loans in Default Suspended Indefinitely, AMAC says it Will Fight to Make it Permanent

student loans garnishment social security benefitsWASHINGTON, DC, Mar 25 — The Trump Administration has put a timely halt on the ability of the government to garnish Social Security benefits to pay for defaulted student loans for an indefinite period during the COVID crisis, reports the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC].

Seniors are the fastest growing segment of the population with outstanding student loan debt.  Research conducted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau [CFPB] shows that, “In 2018, Americans over the age of 50 owed more than $260 billion in student debt, up from $36 billion in 2004, according to the Federal Reserve.  Nearly 40 percent of borrowers aged 65 and older are in default.”

AMAC has been in the forefront of the fight to protect Social Security benefits from garnishment.  “Forty-five percent of unmarried Social Security recipients and 21% of married couples rely on their benefits for at least 90% of their income.  Garnishing that fixed income for student loan debt can have a particularly devastating impact on their lives,” says Bob Carlstrom, president of the AMAC Action initiative.

In a statement issued today, Carlstrom expressed AMAC’s appreciation for the decision to suspend the garnishment of Social Security benefits:

“We commend the Administration and the Secretary of Education for suspending the ability of the federal government to garnish the Social Security income of beneficiaries for payment of student debt during this challenging time. The Secretary has indeed responded to the concerns and pleas  of many members – and non-members – of AMAC.  This action is a good first step on this issue.

“Social Security benefits are off limits to nearly all creditors, but not the federal government which can garnish Social Security benefits for certain debts, including federal student loan debt cosigned by retirees.  According to the Federal Reserve, Americans over 50 hold $260 billion in student loan debt. Benefits can be garnished for court-ordered child support or alimony, or for debts owed to the government. For many seniors, however, their monthly Social Security check is both a critical part of, and indeed the safety net, of their income and financial situation. “We believe Social Security benefits should be protected permanently from student loan default garnishment by any party, including the federal government.”

About AMAC  

The 2 million member Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] [www.amac.us] is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members. AMAC Action is a non-profit, non-partisan organization representing the membership in our nation’s capital and in local Congressional Districts throughout the country.  And the AMAC Foundation (www.AmacFoundation.org) is the Association’s non-profit organization, dedicated to supporting and educating America’s Seniors. Together, we act and speak on the Association members’ behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today. Live long and make a difference by joining us today at www.amac.us/join-amac.

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PaulE

Sorry AMAC, but it is wrong to make this permanent. People should be expected to pay back what they owe. That includes us seniors. What kind of message are we sending to young people, if we tell them they should be responsible and pay their debts while at the same time saying seniors should be able to unload theirs on their fellow taxpayers? After all, who do you think is ultimately going to be on the hook for picking up the cost of a permanent pass on being able to garnish this student loan debt from Social Security payments? It will be the rest of us, who acted responsibly and paid our bills that will bare the brunt of these costs.

LTC S

I’m not sure I understand the student loan issue. Why did people use student loans instead of the GI Bill? I have no issue with making these loans 0% interest but to dismiss them I agree with PaulE, it’s not the right thing to do.