Are Social Security Benefits Being Garnished Over Student Loan Debt?

Unfortunately, for many disabled and retired Americans, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are being garnished over outstanding student loan debts. Photo of gavel and flag

If you fail to pay back a student loan and it enters into default, lenders can take you to court to request a garnishment—this appears to be hurting many Americans, who rely on Social Security benefits.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal had a depressing story about an 80-year-old Alzheimer’s victim, who has lived with the illnesses for more than 10 years and is having her Social Security benefits garnished because of outstanding student loan debt.

According to the news source, $134 of the $894 the woman gets per month in Social Security benefits is garnished due to student loan debt. “How can you take money from someone who is not in her right mind?” the woman’s daughter told the Journal. The loans reportedly were taken out during the 1980s, when the woman attended a cosmetology school.

The Journal reported that in 2013, the government garnished about $150 million in Social Security benefits from Americans to pay back federal student loan debt. The numbers are expected to grow, as college tuition has skyrocketed around the country and many disabled or retired Americans who signed or co-signed on student loans are being held responsible.

In 2013, about 3.3 million Americans between the ages of 50-64 had student loans in default. Some of these people are currently collecting SSDI or may be collecting other forms of Social Security benefits in the future.

Our Social Security Disability Attorneys Are Here for You

It is sad that so many Americans are being affected by the student loan crisis. It is our hope that the government does something to address this situation, especially when it comes to Social Security recipients who need their income to survive.

Although this news is depressing, it should not stop someone from collecting benefits if they are eligible. In order to collect SSDI, you must have earned work credits. If you need assistance with an application or appeal, contact our Tulsa SSDI attorneys today.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys


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