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."