Student Loans And Social Security?

Take a look at the following. Frankly, it never occurred to me that someone could get to the point of collecting Social Security with student loans, but if they do, should they simply get another free pass? There were 155,000 people having student loans taken from Social Security benefits in 2014 according to government reports.

From September 2014

In order to repay their outstanding student loans, the Treasury takes a little over $130 a month from the social security benefits of anyone over 65 who still owes money on student loans. In 2013, the Treasury collected $150m that way.

The dynamics for retirees are different from those among younger graduates. Among the baby boomers struggling with student loans are three main types: those who have gone back to school later in life; those who have opted for smaller monthly repayments and longer extensions on the loans; and those who have at some point in their life defaulted on their federal loans.

So, people make life decisions without considering the consequences or simply make the decision to not be responsible and default on loans.  It would appear if the payments aren’t taken from the Social Security benefit, the loan defaults. Apparently any reasonable effort to recoup taxpayer is a bad thing. From the left’s perspective what’s important


Social Security benefits traditionally have been protected from debt collectors. But Republicans in Congress—always looking for an opportunity to cut Social Security benefits—created a loophole in 1996 that allowed outstanding federal student loan debt to be taken from the benefits that help recipients pay for medication, food and basic necessities.

Right now, more than 700,000 people currently getting Social Security benefits are still paying student loans and 160,000 of them are having their Social Security checks garnished to pay off student loans. President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan can stop this outrageous practice right now.

Stagnant wages and an increased debt burden for America’s workers are likely to push more and more working people into retirement with student loan debt in tow. Most people receiving Social Security rely on this income to survive. Garnishing these funds means it will be harder for people to pay their bills and care for their families.

The good news is we don’t need an act of Congress (thankfully) to change this. Obama and Duncan have the power to change this—either through a moratorium on this practice or administrative measures.

We should be finding ways to help the young and old afford their education and their retirement. Sign the petition to President Obama and Secretary Duncan now asking them to stop garnishing Social Security benefits to pay off student loans.

In Solidarity,

Liz Shuler
Secretary-Treasurer, AFL-CIO


6 replies »

  1. I say WHAT? Not so many years ago I worked for a tax prep service. For several years one of my clients paid interest only on his student loan in spite of making a living wage. Maybe he knew the government may some day waive the loan obligation. I worked two jobs to save for my later years. Now over 70 and still choosing to work at what I love. Get a second job if necessary and pay your debts.


  2. I mean, heck, why should those people who benefitted from the education have to pay loans back? And, even if the government did not deduct the loan from the Social Security check, those folks still owe the money … or is the AFL-CIO advocating they try to default on the loan?! Note that the feds cannot deduct so much as to reduce your annual SS benefit below $9,000 per year or $750 per month. And, it cannot take more than 15% of your total SS benefit.


  3. Another case of Progressives (ultra radical liberals) trying to twist the facts and paint Republicans as the bad guys. Slick Willy was the President in 1996 and if the progressives keep making this public the Republicans need to point out loudly and clearly that when this happened sHrillary was living in the White House. And now these morons want to put her back in the White House.


  4. When did we become a people that believe, it is ok to not pay what we owe. As far as I am concerned Liz Shuler and the AFL-CIO can pay the student loans of anyone they want to. Until then Social Security can just keep taking the money from those that owe it. Reminds me of the 312,000 Federal employees and retirees that owed 3.5 Billion in back taxes in 2011. That is $11,218 for each of them. Sorry but, it is time we stop crying alligator tears for people that do not know there are consequences
    when you sign on the dotted line. Life is hard, I lost rental property to a foreclosure in 1990 after paying the mortgage company $25,000 dollars, no one bailed me out. I learned a valuable lesson, consequences.


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