Posted in: News

Social Security Withheld For Unpaid Student Loan Debt A Growing Issue

social security disability

Social Security is being withheld for people with unpaid federal student loans, the result of a 1996 law that gives the government the power to hold back payments if any type of defaulted debt is owed to the government.

The growing number of people having Social Security withheld for student loans was highlighted in a report from SmartMoney.com, which found that thousands of retirees are being threatened to lose the Social Security benefits many thought were untouchable.

The report, which looked at data from the Treasury Department, found Social Security withheld for a growing number of Americans. Between January and August 6, the federal government withheld Social Security for close to 115,000 retirees on the grounds of unpaid student loan debt.

The number of people with Social Security withheld for student loan debt is almost doubled from 2011, and stretching back further the numbers have increased even more. In 2007 there were 60,000 cases of people who had Social Security withheld for student loan debt. In 2000 there were just six cases.

For many people, the fact that Social Security is being withheld at all is a shock, ABC News reported.

“It’s quite extraordinary because normally Social Security benefits can’t be touched by creditors,” said Deanne Loonin, a staff attorney with the National Consumer Law Center.

While the amount that the government can withhold from Social Security vary, there must be at least $750 remaining in each check, ABC News reported.

“When you think about it, $750 a month is less than the poverty line. It’s not a lot of money for people to have,” Loonin said.

Loonin said the people having Social Security withheld fit a broad range, not just those who recently left college. Many of the people she works with are older and delinquent on a range of loans, including federal student loans parents took out for their children.

Articles And Offers From The Web

Comments

54 Responses to “Social Security Withheld For Unpaid Student Loan Debt A Growing Issue”

  1. Paula Munsen

    Really amkes the govt look desperate. By all means don't pay the elderly their ONLY source of income. How disgusting.

  2. Ellen Cugini

    They take from the social security and will have to give them food stamps etc just to survive. Chip in all the Richie Riches in the US…it's a proven fact the baby boomers have SS as only retirement income….Give us all a break Richie.

  3. Francine Weiss

    Under current adminastration. S.s. will be bankrupt that's a fact! ! Obama keepsspending and spending ( no budget ever. He wouldn ' t run his own family finances like that, I'm sure!

  4. Cynthia Collins

    This problem was not started by Obama! The government officials meshed up even before he got in office. Obama is just the fall guy for others before him. So please stop bashing Obama!

  5. Marie L Correale Hanley

    WELL, I GUESS THEY HAVE TO TAKE FROM SOMEONE, EVEN U.S. CITIZENS TO FUND AND PAY FOR ALL THE ILLEGAL, ALL 80,000 OF THEM, IMMIGRANTS TO WHOM OBAMA IS GOING TO GRANT AMNESTY…AND DON'T FORGET THE CAREER WELFARE RECIPIENTS….the government has already stolen a large portion of OUR social security funds…you know, the fund that WORKING people have paid into for 30 or 40 yrs, only to find out they can't retire at 65…now it's 68..and by the time we get there, it'll be 70 because OUR GOVERNMENT has STOLEN our money! Another 4 yrs of Obama and this country is doomed. I'm not a Romney fan, but the man KNOWS how to make money and at least there's a good chance he can reduce the TRILLIONS deficit that Obama helped create! We are worse off now than when he took office!

  6. Carolyn Wolfe

    Every single person I know who is going back to school or getting a teaching credential, is taking the FULL student loan amount that the federal government offers them each semester. For example, if the total costs are no more than $2,000 (I'm in CA) people are borrowing $10,000 because it is being offered to them. They have no intention of ever paying it back. They are using the money for living expenses because there are no jobs out there. And others are simply blowing it and not even finishing their classes. The government created this problem by giving loans to students over the amount that they actually need. All they need to do is only offer to lend the amount necessary for tuition, books, and school fees. Stop giving out the excess.

  7. Anita Wynn

    So these retired people borrowed to fund their children's educations, and now those children are letting their parents suffer instead of repaying the loans themselves? Anyone else think something is really not right about this situation?

  8. Anonymous

    Withhold social security then give then financial assistance in the form of government programs. Interesting economics.

  9. Peggy Siclari

    If someone is sitting on a pot of money they accumulated as a result of their college education, or if they have tons of assets from things they bought with the bounty of their college education, taking the payments from their Social Security is not a biggie–they probably don't need it anyway. But, if a college educated person is dependent on Social Security, we have a problem, Houston…and we need to ask ourselves why are we paying huge sums of money for college when the outcome is that you don't earn enough money to pay back your loans? Maybe college is way overrated, and they never should have moved manufacturing out of the U.S.

  10. Rhonda McCowan

    If you dontt spend in a recession, you will ruin and depress your economy. That is economics 101 for you ignorant fools that don't read.

  11. Rhonda McCowan

    If you dontt spend in a recession, you will ruin and depress your economy. That is economics 101 for you ignorant fools that don't read.

  12. Rhonda McCowan

    Also, bush ruined the economy of theKNOWN WORLD, and you want to blame Obama. That proves how stupid people are. It takes about 2 to 10 years for an economy to recover from a recession. That is also economics 101. Bush and his incessant deregulation caused the sub prime morrtgage crisis that is now ravaging europe, and people STILL want to vote republican? That is STUPID AS HELL. And romney…he stole 44 million from old pensionersat Bain Capital, but that's okay….

  13. Anonymous

    Their income to qualify for Food Stamps is based on the amount prior to the deduction for Student Loans.

  14. Kevin Renfro

    Why blame any president I blame you we the people have the power not the president besides its a good thing bums should have paid back what they owe when they were younger

  15. Tracy Maybank

    Okay, Federal Student loans should be stopped but touching SSAN benefits is illegal and the Govt. will lose in a suit. Once the Govt. stops paying for colleges and university bills many of them will close but why not let the students pay the costs. Do we really need a million colleges? Paid for by the taxpayer where many non Americans go to learn?

  16. Tracy Maybank

    Marie, Obama isnt granting Amnesty to illegals. He is granting a Temporary (2 Year) wavier to tose whom apply and are accepted. These are childeren who were brought here as infants and many never even knew they were illegal. Imagine growing up here only to find at 18 you are not a citizen.

  17. Tracy Maybank

    Francine Weiss no budget becasue the republicans refuse to work on one. They want to hurt millions of Americans to fire Obama. By your comment I see it's working

  18. Donald Broussard

    yeah I just started recieving social security in march 2012 and already the government has placed a15 percent levy on my monthly benefits missing that money plus the 364 a month I spend on medical expenses its very fu@#ed up the way the government operates they take and take and opertunities are becoming more and more scarce…this is why I no longer believe in this country…banks can get multi million dollar bailouts debts forgiven immigrants can getloans and they don't have to repay this country is a joke and the government is more crooked than a cockroach leg…obama should be tied to a pole and shot and al quaeda needs to reduce this country to a pile of ashes because there are nothing but crooks running america.

  19. Harvey Jones

    if you want to blame somebody, start with G.W. Bush. But blaming gets us nowwhere. So, if you want see a repeat of G. W.'s policies, then vote for "tax the poor – feed the rich" Romney.

  20. Sheila Rich

    No we are not. I disagree one thousand percent. Leave my president alone. He is doing the best he can with the problems he was left with. You could not do any better.Instead of talking bad about him. Pray. Only God can get us out of this mess. It will take us longer than four years to get out of this mess.It took over twelve years to get in this mess.

  21. Bruce Wilton

    They keep moving the age up to collect ss hoping people wont be alive to collect. I think whatever I paid in my family should get if I dont make it to the age to collect. The funniest statement I have ever heard "We are from the government and we are here to help you"

  22. Dan Brazzeal

    It's not just Student Loans. I lost my job in December of 2008 so of course I lost my Medical Insurance as well. I had been having some serious problems with my lower back and right shoulder that started getting even worse in early 2009. I am a U.S. Army Veteran and found out that I am actually qualified for full medical benefits. (Army did not tell me that when I got out). I only have to pay $15.00 co-pays for Doctor visits and $8.00 co-pays for Prescriptions. Can't beat that really. So I had lower back surgery and then had major re-constructive shoulder surgery and found out about some other health issues that I have. It takes time to recover from one surgery and then another one after that. Problem was….I was unemployed. So I filed for disability and finally got approved in January of this year. So for 3 years all those co-pays added up to several thousand dollars. Now the VA garnish's my benefits. In one way I am really not complaining because the VA has taken really good care of me and still does. They are awesome people. But I think the Department of Treasury (They are actually the one's that do the Federal Garnishments) should consider waivers for Disabled Honorably Discharged Vet's and in some cases Student Loans as well. Some students get lucky right out of college and get great 3 figure jobs, they should pay they're student loans back. But then you have a lot of students who come straight out of college and are struggling to find work, just doing what ever they can to get by until they find that "super" job. "The Department of Treasury" should put some sort of limit of income cap on this "garnishment crap". If a person is disabled or a student is making less than the so called "poverty line" leave them alone. It's hard enough to just to survive today much less get ahead. How in the heck can a person "get ahead" if our own Government won't let us. It's just a big ole mess!

  23. Jim Whittaker

    I'm sorry but I don't see the problem with this one. If you owe a debt then pay it, its called personal responsibility and accountability…………nuff said…………This all happened way before Bush you idiots.

  24. Megan Chambers

    Bootsie Linda Connella……. Most students graduate and are gun-ho about paying off student loans when they land their first job only to discover they're moving one step forward and two steps back. The problem isn't paying it back, the problem is the amount of interest tacked on to paying it back. One would be better off going to a loan shark for student loans than fannie mae (banks/government). Then you factor in taking out loans for schools that shut their doors two years into one's degree (and having to start the education process all over while still being responsible for the two years of loans you took out). Then factor in picking a major that will never pay what schools said it would pay……….. many loose the desire to pay off student loans. If the government were to say students only have to pay back what was loaned to them they would see a real increase in repayments. The government gave banks a break how about giving
    graduates that paid to much for that piece of paper to begin with a break.

  25. Megan Chambers

    Most students graduate and are gun-ho about paying off student loans when they land their first job only to discover they're moving one step forward and two steps back. The problem isn't paying it back, the problem is the amount of interest tacked on to paying it back. One would be better off going to a loan shark for student loans than fannie mae (banks/government). If you factor in taking out loans for schools that shut their doors two years into one's degree (it happened to me, and having to start the education process all over while still being responsible for the two years of loans you took out). Then factor in picking a major that will never pay what schools said it would pay……….. many loose the desire to pay off student loans. If the government were to say students only have to pay back what was loaned to them they would see an increase in repayments. The government gave banks a break how about giving graduates that paid to much for that piece of paper to begin with a break. Where's the motivation to pay if 5,000.00 plus only covers part of the interest.

  26. Val Eding

    My son knows people with student loans that were used to buy big screen HD TVs.
    These "students" either are really stupid or really know how to work the system.
    If they ever get SS then I hope they have it withheld too.

  27. Val Eding

    Social Security Withheld For Unpaid Student Loan Debt.
    Good idea. And a lesson that you should be responsible.

  28. Val Eding

    And why is a student aged person on SS in the first place? That is one reason the SS system is at risk.

  29. Val Eding

    If you are elderly on SS then I doubt that you fall into the student category.
    I saw very few "elderly" students in college.

  30. Lucia Montoya

    really, I think they should give senior citizens an option I would give up my income tax than to have some moneies removed or taken monthly. I have to work on the side to maintain after my husband died I still ;have to pay those bills what do they want, yes I understand but if one would at least try to pay something I think it would b good for all of us around.

  31. Lucia Montoya

    i dont think it was because it was a give away, it was a need at the time to get a loan, it was easy, and than u try to pay off the loans and than sometimes u can and than u cant. if u try and tried i think that is acceptable in life.

  32. Lucia Montoya

    really, as far as that is concern about ss those higher up politicians dont put a dime into ss so do they really care about us seniors nope we are in denial, i know because im there a senior at 62 ive worked hard all my life and now i deserve to b happy../.

  33. Anonymous

    Your a selfish "got mine, screw you " skank. Hope something terrible happens to you and your family someday so we can say the same to you. Your not "paying" for anything for anyone. You pay taxes just like we all do so stop trying to make out like it`s just you and only you who are paying for someone in need.Your money is paying for the debt that Bush and his cohorts shot up in the trillions by letting the banks gamble with your money and cashing in on fake wars! You are just a pitiful RUSH/Hannity wannabee who is brainwashed by all the garbage that they spew.

  34. Lauren Quirk

    Tracy is correct about Reagan giving amnesty. Unfortunately, whether Democrat or Republican they will both keep the borders open and give amnesty because it is in the interest of big business. These politicians will always favor their CEO buddies and supply them with endless cheap labor. Now, we have this lunatic in Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio who wants to make Arizona a police state with check points all over the place supposedly to round up illegals and build more prisons in which I'm sure he is getting a cut of the profit. People have gone mad.

  35. Marie L Correale Hanley

    If we keep GIVING it away, we will be bankrupt andn Randy…your attitude is part of the problem! Wishing ill on others? You have issues, one of which is major anger…get help.

  36. Estela Matta

    Hate to burst your delusional bubble but student loan defaults are not from people that made millions and refuse to pay back their loans. It is the struggling middle class who thought that an education might help them rise out of their economic stagnation, or parents who sacrificed for their children in the hopes that one day they would not have to suffer the indignities they themselves endured.
    The untimely collapse of the economy has devastated not only newly graduated students who leave college to find a barren job market, but also those who had existing loans who lost their jobs and due to age and other circumstances are less likely or unlikely to find replacement jobs at the same or better levels– The classic "middle management" syndrome. And yes–loans can take up to 20 years to repay, so its not inconceivable that a person in their mid fifties can still be paying off debt (especially if they went to graduate school).
    Instances of "wasteful" or "abusive" loans are far rarer than intimated by some critics of the default rate. Lending institutions tie loan amounts to actual tuition costs. Further, federal loans are not tailored to actual costs in many instances, but rather are general. That is a law student or a medical student has a cap on the amount they can borrow– whether they are attending a school in a high cost school or state, so that an $18,000 cap for a loan in Ohio may exceed the cost of school, whereas underfund a student in Boston forcing the student to borrow from private lenders as well as the federal govt.
    The one thing that is becoming increasingly clear is that higher education is no longer a mechanism by which to raise oneself out of poverty. That door is being foreclosed on far too many in our society. It is increasingly becoming so that only the children of the wealthy can afford to have a college education–perpetuating a class divide this nation can so ill afford.

  37. Elena Trevino Brunkenhoefer

    FWIW, I went to college and then to get my DVM… most of my debt was for five years of DVM education, and then just a few months before graduation the school decided they weren't going to let me finish due to medical issues, and I am now stuck with over $120K in student loan debt plus 60K in debt to the state that I can't erase or bankruptcy out of because it's education-related (believe me I tried). So now I can't have the career/degree I was supposed to have, and my bachelor's degree isn't something I can do a whole lot with. So no, not everybody that has student loan debt at retirement is sitting on a pile of money. Thankfully all the debt was incurred prior to marrying my husband, so they can't go after him for it. At this point, I'm staying home to raise my kids and plan to homeschool, if I work it won't be for a while and probably only part time, so I'm probably not going to have a SS check big enough for the government to withhold anything anyway.

  38. Elena Trevino Brunkenhoefer

    What if a school were to refuse to let someone finish a degree due to medical issues just before graduation, and leave them $180K in debt without a degree to earn sufficient money to pay it back? You're making a very simple generalization, there are a lot of situations out there that don't fit the general stereotype. Paying back $600/mo for 30 years is impossible on a single basic income, and that's only 2/3 of the total debt burden.

  39. Lance Lucern

    It's funny how the" Move On dot Org" people want to move on only when it's a democrat getting scrutinized. It was CLINTON who signed the bill repealing the Glass-Steagall regulation act of the depression era. Most democrats are too ignorant to know about that, and too dishonest to admit it if they did. Also, you didn't hear too many people citing how long it took to come back from a recession when Reagan took over Carter's mess from the late '70s. The mortgage crisis was caused as much by liberal democrat BS as anything. Not only was the GS act repealed by Clinton but, too many democrats were whining about "discrimination" when banks didn't want to give $300,000 home loans to minorities and such. The banks started having to "be fair" and eventually you had a bunch of people defaulting on their home loans when McDonalds started laying off years later. What's stupid is the amount of people so brainwashed by this Obama = Messiah crap. He's no better than Bush-even worse at this point!