Earlier this month, a Government Accountability Office report found that $171 million was garnished from older Americans’ Social Security benefits in order to repay federal student loan debts. Now, one of those borrowers is suing several government agencies accusing them of taking money from his monthly disability checks despite the fact he was eligible for a student loan discharge.
The lawsuit, filed in September and amended last week, accuses the Department of Education, Social Security Administration, and Department of Treasury of unlawfully garnishing his Social Security disability benefits to collect on defaulted student loans despite the fact he was eligible for a full discharge of the debts.
According to the lawsuit [PDF] – which also names Dept. of Ed. Secretary John King, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, and Social Security Administration Commissioner Carolyn Colvin – the 67-year-old man received a notice in 2013 indicating that a portion of his disability benefits would be garnished in order to pay off the student loans he obtained in the 1970s.
While the man attended college for a short time, he dropped out due to hospitalizations, and eventually defaulted on the loans. In 1973, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and began receiving Social Security disability benefits.