Feds Cut Social Security to Retirees Who Owe Student Debt

Social Security
By Mandi Woodruff

While most attention in the ongoing student debt crisis narrative has focused on new graduates, it turns out the federal government has been quietly targeting a different group of debtors: retirees.

The Treasury Department has been withholding as much as 15 percent of Social Security benefits from "a rapidly growing number of Social Security recipients who have fallen behind on federal student loans," Smart Money's Annamaria Andriotis reports:

"From January through August 6, the government reduced the size of roughly 115,000 retirees' Social Security checks on those grounds. That's nearly double the pace of the department's enforcement in 2011; it's up from around 60,000 cases in all of 2007 and just 6 cases in 2000...

The amount that the government withholds varies widely, though it runs up to 15%. Assuming the average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker of $1,234, that could mean a monthly haircut of almost $190."

Since 2001, the number of retirees who've seen benefits garnished has ballooned from about 20,000 to nearly 100,000. The worst part? Some of these retirees are simply among the growing number of older consumers who've taken on loans to help their kids or grandchildren through college.

A recent report by the New York Federal Reserve found more than 17 percent of student loan borrowers are over the age of 50.

And while slates for credit and other forms of debt can be wiped clean in bankruptcy, lawmakers have yet to add student loan debt to the list.

Still, simply owning study loans in old age doesn't automatically put retiree's benefits on the fed's chopping block.

"It's when people aren't making any attempt whatsoever [to pay] that they start heading down that road," Treasury Department spokesman Justin Hamilton said.

More from Business Insider:
Student Debt Is Keeping Young People Out of the Housing Market
This Woman's On The Hook For A $25,000 Private Student Loan She Never Knew Existed
Military Nurse Battles Sallie Mae Over $120,000 In Private Student Loans

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While millions are out of work Obama still hasn't met with his jobs council. Just shows that Obamas only concerned about his own job.
The method Republicans have used to block all jobs legislation in the past two years is the same. A jobs bill comes up, it is filled with positive things for the economy, Republicans filibuster debate, this shields them from having to make floor speeches on why they don't want tax breaks for small businesses... etc.

Why? Well, if the economy recovers too strongly before an election, Republicans will lose power. If jobs numbers look too good, people will want to keep the same party. By Republicans blocking all jobs legislation and keeping jobs numbers from improving they believe this is their ticket to power.

In other words, if you and other Americans suffer just long enough it will pay off for Republicans.

They sacrifice the citizens' jobs with the hopes that they will create more Republican jobs in Congress.

Read Benjamin Feinblum's blog, Team America.

Americans want the jobs numbers to improve and are beginning to wise up to the reality that Republicans are blocking jobs measures that citizens are strongly in favor of. Coverage of Republicans tactic of blocking all jobs bills is increasing because the media has begun to realize what is happening. Now, Republicans face a major backlash from the American public as their power grabbing scheme is becoming more visible.

They knew years ago that the election would be based on the economy and job creation. So, they held it off.

More Americans are realizing that Republicans have worked for several years to undermine the president in every way possible. Americans believe that it requires a complete lack of patriotism to take such actions during a massive economic collapse. They are beginning to ask, "Who in their right mind would block any job creating plan to bring us out of this crisis because they want power?"

Well, that answer is simple - they stated their mission two years ago. Here is the Republican leader of the Senate - Mitch McConnell. Now, the 19th jobs bill has been just blocked.

Congress's approval rating is at record lows and wiser Americans are beginning to become vocal about getting Republicans out of office.

Today that method was repeated for the 19th time in two years.

Note: This article is all inclusive. You can view the entire list of jobs bills blocked. You can view data on the impact of the stimulus and other jobs measures. You can also see why America is primed for job growth that will occur the moment Republicans in Congress allow jobs bills to pass.

Do you think Republicans face a backlash as Americans are figuring this out?

The Bring Jobs Home Act

The bill was called the, "Bring Jobs Home Act." It would have provided a 20% tax break for the costs of moving jobs back to the U.S. It removes tax deductions for the business expenses of jobs moving overseas. Simple enough.

Stop incentivizing jobs leaving the U.S. Start incentivizing jobs returning to the U.S. Fund it within the bill by taking away deductions for companies shipping jobs overeas. This way, it doesn't add to the deficit.

The president can never directly bring the jobs back. However, he and Congress can create the conditions through policy that create job magnetism.

This is the most common sense solution on the planet to create the conditions to draw jobs home.

Americans now realize that Republicans just voted to protect companies that outsource jobs. Maybe, citizens won't want Republican leadership in Congress anymore given how they have used their time.

Note: Four Republicans voted for the law believing it was too good for America to play politics with. 42 Republicans voted to obstruct.

Again, I am not talking about a vote on the merits of the law that were blocked. I am talking about filibustering debate. Jobs measures are too important for Republicans to speak about on record.

The Payroll Tax Cut Renewal

This tax cut reaches 160 million people and stimulates demand by leaving money in consumers hands. Watch the GOP refuse to allow Democrats to propose compromises on the measure. Economists call this one of the most stimulative possible approaches for increasing jobs in the economy.

Watch as the Republican speaker leaves the floor refusing to talk about jobs legislation.

August 21 2012 at 8:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to blockheadpartyto's comment

Hey democracks, the republicans are sabotaging our economy by blocking job bills.

August 21 2012 at 8:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Washington, D.C. - Tuesday evening Republicans in the U.S. Senate succeeded in their mission to block Democratic attempts to remove $21 billion in subsidies which the five largest oil companies presently receive from U.S taxpayers.

By blocking this legislation, the Republicans once again have increased the deficit and in turn they have increased the national debt.

The cloture vote for the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act had 52 yeas and 48 nays. A cloture vote needs a total of 60 votes before moving to the final simple majority vote.

Joining the Republicans in the nay vote against removing the tax loopholes of the oil companies were Democratic Senators Mark Begich of Alaska, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, and Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

Joining the Democrats in support of the removal of tax loopholes were Republican Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, both from Maine.

Independent Senators Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Bernie Sanders of Vermont also voted yea for the removal of the loopholes.

The five oil companies which would have been affected by the bill are BP, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and Shell, removing $21 billion in tax breaks over a ten year period.

According to The Hill, stating the need to apply the savings to lowering the deficit, Democrats plan to continue to push for the removal of the subsidies as they continue talks with the GOP on the 2012 federal budget and the on the debt ceiling debate.

Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told reporters after the vote, “I am confident that before we finish our budget negotiations here in anticipation of raising the debt ceiling that that will be part of it.”

Even after oil companies continue to make record profits off of the American people, subsidies to these companies are set to continue indefinitely into the future costing the taxpayers billions of dollars. Despite record profits and billions in subsidies, oil companies continue to overcharge as for gasoline and other products critical to the lives and the economy of Americans and America.


August 21 2012 at 8:49 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Anita Law of Jacksonville, Fla., said that she was raped by an acquaintance when she was a 19-year-old student at the University of Maryland and that she got pregnant as a result of the incident. She was too traumatized to go through with the pregnancy, so she walked to a nearby abortion clinic, where she was heckled and verbally assaulted by protesters as she tried to get in the door.

"Rape is so isolating -- it ruined my world for a long time," Law, now 43, said in an interview with The Huffington Post. "If I had had to carry that rapist's baby to term, quite honestly, I might have taken my life."

Law said she couldn't believe her eyes on Sunday when she read that Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri declare in an interview that pregnancy from "legitimate rape" is "really rare" because "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

"First of all, what is legitimate rape?" she asked. "Whether it's date rape, whether the woman was beaten to a pulp, whether it's a 14 or 15-year old kid carrying her father's child, it doesn't matter. Having to deliver the baby of a rapist -- that's torture."

Another rape survivor in Missouri was so incensed by Akin's comment that she called into St. Louis television station KTVI to share her feelings. "It was like I had been slapped," she told the anchor. "I heard that comment and I just began to shake. I was fit to be tied."

Pregnancies that result from rape are actually not rare. According to a 1996 study by The Medical University of South Carolina, about 5 percent of rape victims of reproductive age become pregnant from the assault, adding up to about 32,000 pregnancies each year. "Rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency," the study concluded.

Mitt Romney immediately distanced himself from Akin's comment, announcing in a statement on Sunday night that he supports abortion in cases of rape. But Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), has stated that abortion should only be legal in cases where the life of the mother is at risk. Ryan co-sponsored a fetal personhood bill that would effectively criminalize abortions without an exception for rape victims.

Republicans in Congress and in state legislatures have made a serious effort over the past couple of years to outlaw abortion in cases of rape, to prevent low-income rape and incest victims from using Medicaid to pay for their abortions, and to narrow the definition of rape to only include "forcible" rape. Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) recently authored a bill that would ban abortions in Washington, D.C., without an exception for rape victims, and the House Judiciary Committee approved it.

Idaho state Sen. Chuck Winder (R) recently justified his opposition to abortion in cases of rape by questioning whether women really know what rape is.

"I would hope that when a woman goes in to a physician with a rape issue, that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage or was it truly caused by a rape," he told colleagues during a debate over an anti-abortion bill. "I assume that's part of the counseling that goes on.”

Law, who studied criminology at Maryland and worked in the criminal justice system for 14 years after her sexual assault, said she has helped a handful of rape victims who have become pregnant as a result. Akin's comment, she said, is "a perfect example of why male politicians shouldn't be legislating women's bodies."

"There is so much shame and so much societal guilt that's already placed on women around the issue of rape," she said. "Eventually, we'll evolve enough to recognize that a woman's body is sacred, and that all decisions should be hers alone."

August 21 2012 at 8:45 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to blockheadpartyto's comment

Once again, hats off to the republicans. Thank you for making more women vote democratic than republican.

August 21 2012 at 8:47 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

A group of House Republicans were reprimanded last August for taking a late-night swim in Israel's Sea of Galilee that reportedly involved drinking and nudity.

As Politico reported Sunday night, a number of Republican lawmakers on a fact-finding trip to Israel were involved in the incident, including Reps. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.), Steve Southerland (R-Fla.), Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.), Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) and Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.). Some spouses, family members, and staffers were also present. According to the report, Yoder took off his clothes before entering the reservoir, which the Bible cites as the place where Jesus walked on water.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who was on the privately-funded trip but not involved in the late-night swim, was "livid" about his colleagues' antics and scolded them for their behavior. A Cantor spokesman confirmed the episode to the ABC News.

According to Politico, the FBI later looked into the incident to determine if any members of Congress had acted inappropriately. While some staffers were questioned, no formal allegations appear to have been filed.

Yoder, who was elected in 2010, issued an apology for the "embarrassment" after the report of his skinny dipping emerged.

"A year ago, my wife, Brooke, and I joined colleagues for dinner at the Sea of Galilee in Israel. After dinner I followed some Members of Congress in a spontaneous and very brief dive into the sea and regrettably I jumped into the water without a swimsuit," Yoder said. "It is my greatest honor to represent the people of Kansas in Congress and [for] any embarrassment I have caused for my colleagues and constituents, I apologize."

August 21 2012 at 8:41 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

It's people like Todd Akin who is making more women vote democratic than republican. Thank you Todd Akin.

August 21 2012 at 8:38 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Obama doesn't hold a press conference in over 2 months. But he held one yesterday. Didn't mention high unemployment, didn't mention high gas prices, didn't mention the debt. didn't mention the trouble in the middle east, didn't mention soldiers getting killed in Afghanistan, but took the opportunity to mention the dumbbell who made the stupid rape remark. 2 months go by no press conference, but Obama decides to hold a press conference about a stupid remark that was made. Todd Akin apologized for the stupid remark and is even being asked to withdraw from the election by darn near everyone. But Obama thought this was sooooooooooooo important to hold a press conference about a dumb remark.

If Obama held a press conference to comment about stupid remarks made by Joe Biden, Obama would have to hold a press conference EVERYDAY!

August 21 2012 at 8:21 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

While millions are out of work Obama still hasn't met with his jobs council. Just shows that Obamas only concerned about his own job.

August 21 2012 at 8:11 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Judy Lynn

They take Student loans out of disability checks also so don't feel rained on.

August 21 2012 at 8:07 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Judy Lynn's comment

Glad to heat it!

August 21 2012 at 8:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with this move by the Fed. Now we need some consequences for Wall Street and banks.

August 21 2012 at 8:03 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

I'm not worried about them taking my social security when I retire; there's not going to be anything left anyway by then. I sure would love to not have to be a part of that program anymore, but in America I don't get to make that decision. Seems with every passing administration I get to make less and less decisions in my life. Good to be free.

August 21 2012 at 7:51 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply