05/31/2013 01:11 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Can I Get My Social Security Garnished Over My Student Loans?

Huffington Post Reader Question

Dear Steve,

I declared bankruptcy almost 21 years ago and was able to avoid paying student loan debt by getting forbearances.

I thought I could do that indefinitely but was told it ran out after 20 years. I have been paying it for the last year but am about to retire.

Can they garnish my retirement and social security?


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Dear Sharon,

Unfortunately if your student loans are subsidized, federal loans, or government backed student loans the answer is your Social Security can be garnished. It's a little fact that trips up a lot of people.

The saddest cases are the grandparents that co-signed for the federal student loans and darling Jimmy can't make his payment, grandma gets garnished.

However, there are two things you can do. The first should be to get on an income based repayment plan for your federal student loans and that will prevent you from being garnished or building up collection fees and penalties. More information about that can be found here.

A growing number of seniors have been getting their Social Security payments garnished for student loans. The problem will continue to grow.

If for some reason you do wind up getting your Social Security payments garnished you should read this article and this one to understand how you may be able to put a hold on the garnishment

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