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New federal proposal would protect SSD benefits

Many people in the Cincinnati area who are able to work still struggle to pay off their student loan debt. In many cases, Ohioans have to hold a decent full time job, or else they will go in to default on these loans. Sadly, when a person winds up disabled and unable to work, they do indeed get behind on these loans as well as their other debts.

Student loans are difficult to discharge in a bankruptcy proceeding. Moreover, the creditor on the loan has a lot of power to go after a former student's assets, even if that student is not able to work due to a disability. This power is even broader than what a typical creditor might have with respect to collecting on an overdue loan, and it includes the ability to withhold a portion of a person's disability paycheck. The only requirement is that the government has to leave at least $750 for the borrower.

Now, a new proposal sponsored by several Senators, including one from Ohio, seeks to change this practice and prevent the government from garnishing Social Security Disability checks to repay overdue student loans. A previous proposal similar in nature, which was introduced 2 years ago, failed to pass. Still, supports of the measure point to the fact that the number of people, particularly over the age 50, who are winding up having benefits garnished has increased eight-fold since a decade ago.

For now, though, disabled Ohioans will need to remember that their disability checks may get garnished if they owe back student loans. There may be other legal means by which to avoid having this happen.

Source:, "Bill would protect Social Security against student loan debt," Marlene Y. Satter, May 1, 2017.

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