The Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Representatives Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), along with Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Representative Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), issued the following statements after introducing the Stop Social Security Garnishment for Student Debt Act. The bill reverses a 1996 law that permits the garnishment the Social Security benefits to pay for outstanding federal student loans.
“It is the height of irresponsibility to take Social Security funds from recipients when they or their children have outstanding student loans,” Rep. Grijalva said. “The Stop Social Security Garnishment for Student Debt Act upholds our historical commitment to retirees and ensures the money they are counting on to retire with dignity is there when they need it most. We can’t solve our student debt crisis on the backs of seniors and people with disabilities. Congressional leaders must act immediately stop this shameful process once and for all.”
“Social Security is one of America’s most important and successful earned benefit programs, and one that many seniors and people with disabilities rely on as their only source of income.”Rep. Ellison said. “Naomia Davis took out a student loan in the 1980s to help her pay for cosmetology school. She is now 80, has Alzheimer’s, can no longer read, and can’t talk on the phone. Still, every month, the government takes $134 of her $894 Social Security check to put toward paying back her loan.
“It’s wrong to deny seniors and people with disabilities money they have earned and rely on to put food on the table or buy medicine because they can’t afford to pay back old college debts.”
“Social Security is not just another check: it is an economic lifeline for many of our seniors struggling to pay their bills,” Rep. Fudge said. “The federal government should not continue to reduce these usually meager monthly benefits for student loan debt. The Stop Social Security Garnishment for Student Debt Act aims to end this harmful practice and protect Social Security’s hard earned benefits for all of America’s seniors. College should be affordable, not a burden that even follows a person into retirement.”