Murphy Bill will Stop Garnishment of Social Security Benefits to Pay Student Loans

April 27, 2016 Posted by kingcade

A bill has been introduced by U.S. Representative Patrick Murphy that will prevent social security benefits from being garnished to repay student loan debt.  Murphy says it is a problem that needs to be addressed and believes expanding higher education opportunities and protecting Social Security benefits are key to bolstering the middle class.

In the fiscal year that ended in October, 860,000 individuals had their Social Security benefits reduced to pay for federal debts, with the federal government collecting $382 million, according to the Senate Finance Committee. This number included attempts to collect other debts besides student loans.

According to the General Accountability Office, the number of people whose Social Security benefits were reduced specifically to pay off student loan debt increased from 31,000 in 2002 to 155,000 in 2013. The numbers for those older than age 65 increased from 6,000 to 36,000 in the same period. Some of those were paying down debts incurred to educate their children through co-signing or Parent PLUS loans. In fact, people older than 65 owe $18.2 billion on student loans.

The Murphy Bill is a step in the right direction, but still falls short by failing to alleviate the debt for seniors.  Consumer advocates believe the real solution is a change in the law to permit unsustainable student loan debts to be discharged in bankruptcy.

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