Top Senate Democrats introduced legislation on Thursday to protect Americans who receive Social Security from having their benefits garnished to pay outstanding federal debts, such as student loans.
The bill, the Protection of Social Security Benefits Restoration Act, was introduced by Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, ranking member of the Finance Committee Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy Subcommittee, as well as eleven Senate Democrats.
“Americans shouldn’t see their Social Security checks ripped away because of the increasing burden of student loan debt,” Wyden said in a statement announcing the bill. “People who have worked hard and paid into the program count on these benefits just to survive – there ought to be basic protections to defend struggling Americans from having their earned Social Security benefits cut by the federal government.”
The bill would repeal a decades-old change in law (made in 1996) that allowed earned benefits to be garnished by the federal government to collect federal debts, like student loans, home loans owed to the Veterans Administration and food stamp overpayments, the Senators explained.