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Proposed bill would protect federal benefits

In our last post, we discussed the unfortunate fact that a portion of your federal benefits can be garnished in an effort to repay student loan debt. This can have a devastating impact on anyone who collects and depends on Social Security benefits and has fallen behind on or cannot make student loan payments.

However, this could all change if the proposed Protection of Social Security Benefits Restoration Act becomes law.

The bill, which was recently proposed by several Democratic senators, would put a stop to the garnishment of earned Social Security benefits. Currently, about 155,000 people have their benefits taken through garnishment. This is a dramatic increase from the 31,000 people who lost benefits back in 2002. 

Many of the people who have been and will continue to be affected by this penalty are 65 and older. They may no longer be working and repaying student loan debt may be all but impossible. Receiving smaller benefits checks makes it even more unlikely that the debt will be satisfied.

Whether the bill will pass or not remains to be seen. In the meantime and in the event that it does not, recipients of Social Security benefits who carry student loan debt should understand that there are options for getting back on track by considering debt consolidation or completing a rehabilitation program for federal student loan default.

If you are concerned about debts stemming from student loans, it can be crucial that you examine your options with a debt relief attorney sooner, rather than later. You may be able to find a solution that allows you to protect your credit score, assets, benefits and financial well-being.

Source: Credit.com, "The Government Can Take Your Social Security to Pay Student Loans, But Maybe Not for Long," Christine DiGangi, Dec. 14, 2015

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