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Home > Ask The Get Out of Debt Experts > The Garnishment of My Mother’s Social Security for the Student Loan Just Stopped. – Erin

The Garnishment of My Mother’s Social Security for the Student Loan Just Stopped. – Erin

“Dear Steve,

I’m wondering if anyone in your organization has knowledge of a process change regarding student loan/social security garnishment.

My elderly mother lives off of her social security income and for the past few years it has been garnished for repayment on a student loan she co-signed for my brother about 20 yrs. ago. Two days ago she was contacted by an outside credit agency, the rep. told her that the debt would no longer be handled through social security and would instead be handled by the collection company he works for. Her most recent check no longer reflects the garnishment. The rep also mentioned that if she made another series of payments she may be eligible for a break from payment for awhile.

I realize this situation is not the type you typically advise on, but I was hoping you may have some thoughts on it.

Has there been any change that you know of to the student loan/social security garnishment process, or do you know of any other cases where others have had a similar experience? Also do you have any advice for us on how to proceed?

Thanks so much for all you’ve done and all you do!

Erin”

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The Answer

Dear Erin,

It sounds like the government outsourced the collection and this may just be a temporary break from the garnishment.

It’s certainly worth evaluating what the collection company may be offering.

Ironically the garnishment may be subject to a lower payment since their are limitations about just how much can be garnished.

I’d encourage to have an open dialogue with the collection company and see what they may be offering. I would be guarded though about disclosing any assets your mother may have. Collectors are not all the enemy and often they can help to facilitate a solution that their client has authorized.

I have to ask, is there a reason your brother isn’t helping with this?

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

Big Hug!

The Garnishment of My Mothers Social Security for the Student Loan Just Stopped.   Erin
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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • Michaela

    This may actually be why the garnishments stopped.  If her only income is Soc Sec and it is electronically deposited, as long as she does not accumulate more than 2 months worth in her account, it can’t be touched.  She should stop paying and give them the brother’s contact information.
    “But starting May 1, 2011 new protections are in place for those least able to have their accounts frozen and their funds unavailable for 4 weeks or more. Federal benefits that are directly deposited into an account via ACH from Social Security; Supplemental Security Income (SSI); Veterans Administration benefits; Federal Railroad retirement, unemployment or sick benefits; or Civil Service and Federal Employee Retirement benefits cannot be frozen under the new rules and will be available for use by the debtor.
    For an account that receives funds in this electronic manner, only those funds in the account that exceed the total of two months electronic deposits of protected public benefits will be subject to freezing for the garnishment.  Some states allow even greater exemptions to protect the assets of recipients of public benefits who are on fixed incomes.”

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      I did not know that. Thanks so much for posting this.

  • Ej11br

    Thanks for your quick response Steve. The rep we spoke to does seem to be willing to work with her. To answer your question, no, there is no good reason she’s the one shouldering this debt or this problem.
    Thank you again & Happy Holidays!

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      In that case, I’d just expect the garnishment to begin again at some point in the future. But, don’t be shocked if the balance due suddenly jumps by as much as 25%. The collection companies can tack on their fees to the balance of the loan due.

      But it’s probably a moot point since it is unlikely she will ever repay the loan anyway.

      Unless there is some reason that would prevent your brother from contributing something to help his mother on this, it’s a disgrace.

  • Ej11br

    Thanks for your quick response Steve. The rep we spoke to does seem to be willing to work with her. To answer your question, no, there is no good reason she’s the one shouldering this debt or this problem.
    Thank you again & Happy Holidays!

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