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.