Many disabled Americans who receive Social Security disability benefits may be shocked to find their disability payments garnished because they owe the federal government student loan money.
While disability payments can’t be garnished by private companies, disability payments can be garnished by the federal government. In fact, the government is allowed to take either 15 percent of your payment or enough to leave you with $750 per month—whichever is less.
Student Loan Garnishments on the Rise Over the Past Decade
In 2005, only six checks in the country were reduced because of student loan debt. In 2007, 60,000 Social Security checks were garnished due to student loan debt, and from January to August of 2012, 115,000 Social Security checks were garnished because of student loans.
These garnishments are not just a problem for young people with disabilities or for students. Instead, many older people are seeing their payments lowered because of student loans they co-signed for children, grandchildren, or other loved ones.
Help Could Be Available
Every loan has its own discharge rules. While it is often difficult to have a student loan discharged, it is possible to do so in some cases. The following federal student loans, for example, may be discharged if you can prove that you have a total and permanent disability:
- Willian D. Ford Federal Direct Loans
- Federal Family Education Loans (FEEL)
- Federal Perkins Loans
- Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grant services
Your approval for Social Security disability benefits, however, will not automatically qualify you to have these loans discharged. Instead, you must go through each loan’s discharge process.
At Morgan & Weisbrod, we are dedicated to helping disabled Americans get the financial support they need and deserve under the law. If you have a question about your disability benefits, or if you are fighting to secure benefits, contact a Dallas disability benefits lawyer today to talk about your case and get answers. Call us today at 800-800-6353 to schedule an appointment and learn more.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.