Sallie Mae is Threatening to Garnish My SSDI Income. – Trudy

“Dear Steve,

A few years ago I co-signed two private student loans for my son through Sallie Mae. I am disabled and receiving SSDI. My son has now defaulted on the loans and Sallie Mae is demanding payment from me. The loan is now with a collector who is threatening judgement. I live in the state of Hawaii. My son also lives in the state of Hawaii and has a good job and Sallie Mae is aware of this but they continue to threaten me and not him.

I am currently unemployed and receive SSDI payments for disability. From my own research I’ve learned Sallie Mae can not garnish my SSDI but can Sallie Mae freeze or garnish my bank account? The only monies going into my bank account are from Social Security.

Thank you for your help.


Do You Have a Question You'd Like Help With? Contact Debt Coach Damon Day. Click here to reach Damon.

Dear Trudy,

Your assumptions appear to be correct. Since the money in your bank account is from public benefits you should be what people call “judgment proof” since these are private student loans. If they were government subsidized your benefits could be garnished.

You might want to contact the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii for free legal help on this matter.

Typically the lender will pursue the co-signer because that person usually has better credit and resources than the primary account holder. I would not be surprised to see them pursue your son once they run into a wall with you. Which begs me to ask, why isn’t your son paying on these loans if he’s doing alright?

There is nothing that prevents your son from contacting Sallie Mae and working out a repayment plan to prevent you from being sued.

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

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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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.
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