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Seniors Are Under Pressure to Repay Student Loans, says AMAC

senior pressure student debtThe GAO says those with federal student loans in default may have Social Security benefits withheld

WASHINGTON, DC – Millions of seniors are struggling to pay off student loans.  But, these seniors are not scholars; they are senior citizens, older Americans, many of whom have had their retirement plans disrupted as a result.

And, according to the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC], Social Security benefits can be garnished if they default on federal student loans.

In fact, says AMAC’s president, Dan Weber, a growing number of seniors are having their Social Security benefits withheld because they are defaulting on their federal student loans.  He cites the U.S. Government Accountability Office [GAO], which has reported that “older borrowers (age 50 and older) who default on federal student loans and must repay that debt with a portion of their Social Security benefits often have held their loans for decades and had about 15 percent of their benefit payment withheld.”

Total outstanding student loan debt has reached “stratospheric proportions.  It currently stands at more than $1.5 trillion– that’s trillion with a T.  And, $86 billion dollars of that debt is owed by Americans over the age of 60,” according to Weber.

The GAO has made suggestions that could aid seniors whose Social Security benefits may be garnished.  For example, if benefits are less than $9,000 a year [$750 a month] they cannot be garnished.  But, it’s been quite a while since that $9,000 threshold was established and so the GAO suggests that it be increased and indexed for inflation.

Meanwhile, if your benefits are being garnished be aware that the Department of Education may be able to help you create a more-affordable repayment option.  Get in touch with the DOE and ask for a suspension or a reduction.  You’ll have to provide documentation for relief

More than 50% of seniors whose benefits are being withheld are receiving disability payments and may be able to receive a disability waiver.  It can be a difficult process, but it also can be worth the effort.  It’s been reported that as many as 33% of disability waiver applications are approved.

Finally, says Weber, there are agencies and organizations that can provide specific help in getting out from under Social Security offset withholding due to a student loan default.  He suggests getting in touch with the National Consumer Law Center or The National Center on Law and Elder Rights.


The Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] [https://www.amac.us], with 2 million members, is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members.  We act and speak on their 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 https://amac.us/join-amac.

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Jerry Gant

My feeling is … you borrowed the money, you pay it back. Just because you made it to retirement age doesn’t relieve you of your responsibility. Im tired of hearing all the poor me stories from former students, that borrowed money with no regard for how they’d repay it.

Bob Jenks

We had student debt when I graduated from college but we sacrificed early in my working career to pay the debt. I have low tolerance for those who intentionally neglect their debt obligations.

Thomas Predmore

I support Mss. Faith’s position if the Law she identifies is accurately described.

Now to my opinion: I do not believe any tax dollars or public funding of any type should be used to pay off any individuals or Companies financial obligations. Individuals and Companies make a personal choice to enter into “Debt “ and those entities are responsible for their “Debts”, not we the tax payers.

I believe it was wrong when the Government bailed out the Auto Industry on the last two occasions and I believe Debt is an individuals/Companies responsibility.

The Government Debt we owe is wicked enough without We the People or our Government setting Taxpayers up to take on any other additional unnecessary debts.

Fred Loe

I don’t know why people can think of retiring when at 60+ they have student loans.What the heck did they do since their 20’s? I was glad for my student loans in the 60-70’s but I paid them off on regular schedule.No I am unsympathetic for early retirement and now whining about student debt.Did they buy a car or a TV, entertainment stuff.Bad enough we let students take loans in art/humanities/social work etc as millennials and they want us to forgive their loans.EVERY body wants someone else to pay for their individually signed up for loans, healthcare and heaven knows what else.Sorry no sympathy here and furthermore most of these loans are federally given how unpatriotic as well


If you owe it you should pay it! Either voluntary or by force. It is hypocritical to look at the younger generation and scold them for something older Americans have abused; being irresponsible through ones’ 20s,30s,40s,50s years of age does not release us from the consequences. Bottom line YOU owe it, you have basically been on a from of welfare and are now wanting the rest of America to pay for your education.

Pam Berendsen

My husband and I paid off his student loans in the 1980’s when the economy stunk and jobs were hard to find. You pay back what you borrowed period. We were not wealthy , but we were frugal.
I do not feel sorry for those now having social security garnished. Looks like Responsibility and moral issues aren’t just for younger generations.

Dan Arriola

How do you get to a retirement age and still owe for a student loan? Fess up you deadbeats!


They had a lifetime to repay. They needed to honor their debt.

Joyce Coltrin

Let’s not confuse 50-year-olds who have 15 years yet before they earn Social Security and Social Security seniors. Regardless, a person who has had the advantage of a college education for all these years should pay off the debt. What has age to do with any of this?

Daniel Risz

If you owe it, pay it. If one group is forgiven for college debt, others will expect the same (millenials). Taxpayers can’t be expected to fund poor financial planning of some.

Bob Morley

Student loan forgiveness would not be fair to those that paid their tuition and their student loans off. Would we get a refund indexed to inflation? I don’t think so. I would probably be okay with forgiving loans of those who could not pay due to disability. Disability insurance coverage should be included with student loans for this reason.

Robert Jagger

Would love to know how many of these College Grads, millions in debt, have Business/Economic Degrees !

Racheal Gungner

I read all the comments regarding “”repaying”” educational loans. Our family motto was always, you borrow – you repay, even if it was a dollar.
The question needs to be asked….. what did you do with the MONEY??? Did you squander it or did you actually use it for education purposes. I’ve met persons who proudly announced that the loan was used as a downpayment for a home, which has increased over the years.
Also, who is NOT DISABLED some way or other!!!! I managed to contract polio at the age of 8, twice breast cancer survivor, have PPS (post polio syndrom ), survived a stroke and recently diagnosed with glaucoma….NO I AM NOT DISABLED!!!!
So pay off your loans!!!!


Pay your debt


We paid our school debts and our 2 kids college debts by working two jobs each and now that we are retired you want our money for the deadbeats .. no way.. get a job no matter what age you are and figure out how to pay your own debts- stay out of my pocket

Ranch Wife

I worked my A$$ off to get through college! Sometimes having 2 jobs! I didn’t borrow money to pay for my college. What wasn’t covered by scholarships, was paid out of my wages. Why are seniors having long ago unpaid college loans? What were you doing for the 30-40 yrs you worked that these remain unpaid?

Trena Eiden

I’m a senior and two my children are paying back hundreds of thousands of loans due to them putting themselves through college to be a doctor and an engineer. Now they’re starting life in debt raising families but not whining. Why should seniors be off the hook when they knew going in that they had to it pay back? What a lot of people don’t realize is the interest rate is sky high, sometimes being over 11%. I don’t think the government should MAKE money off those paying back their loans.

Richard Stanley

Your not Congress. But they should be held accountable regardless! You don’t get to do the stupid things they do that the rest of us pay for! Your borrowed the money, YOU pay it back! Unless you go to work for the Peace Corps or in New York State, become a teacher for at least four years (I think)….. What kind of example are you for the following generation! IN addition I hope your credit score suffers. Since your retired (and obviously retarded), let me remind you it is your responsibility to keep your affairs yours. You want to be a Socialist ….. Go to Cuba, Mexico, or another place that will accept you. Your not worth keeping! I borrowed money for myself and my kids when I was in my fifties. I paid it all back! You should do the same. That’s the “system”


I never received one cent from a student loan to pay my way through college. It was called get a job, make your own way, and pay for it. I worked one full time job, one part time job, went to college (some of it junior college to avoid high 4 year college cost), did Army correspondence courses to continue my rank progression in the Army National Guard, and did billings for a water system as a 2nd part-time job. I have absolutely NO SYMPATHY for anyone on social security and still owe student loans. I was in my 30’s when I got my diploma and walked away from college debt free. PAY UP or HAVE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY GARNISHED. You can always get a job while you are on social security and pay it off. Pay your debt and reimburse the tax payers that probably never got the chance… Read more »

Marilyn Griffin

I simply cannot imagine a person having student loans and not having paid them off before reaching SS age! That reeks of plain human sorryness. I am against the push today by so many politicians and leftists to just forgive and write off the debt of school loans. What’s next for our younger generations? Should they, after sufficient whining about how unfair it is, get their defaulted mortgages or car loans paid off by taxpayers? Oh, well, whatever not? After all, we taxpayer’s are spending over $100 billion annually to provide welfare, free education, free medical care for tens of millions of illegal alien noncitizens that should NOT even be in our country and millions of foreign immigrants here legally but not US citizens all while we continue to import 2-3 million more of such every year. Oh, and let’s just continue, as congress does, to ignore our $21 TRILLION… Read more »