10/30/2013 05:13 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

We Cosigned for Federal Student Loans. Will They Garnish Our Social Security?

Huffington Post Reader Question

Dear Steve,

Our daughter went to an expensive private college, she was unable to secure loans on her own and my husband co-signed for her federal student loan, she has since graduated but has only recently been able to secure a full time position.

She is very delinquent on all of her student loans. My husbands company has downsized due to the weak economy and he has been reduced to part time. He is 65 years old and will be started his Social Security benefits soon.

Can the collection agency handling this student loan go after his Social Security benefits since he is the co-signer on this federal student loan?


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Dear Chuck,

Here is the bit about cosigning everyone needs to understand. As a cosigner you have 100% of the risk and liability and 0% of the benefit. The reason the lender asks for a cosigner is so they can go after someone with better credit when the other person defaults.

If someone asks you to cosign, always say no.

Tell your daughter to immediately get her federal student loans consolidated and get them on an income based repayment plan. The payment can be as low as $0 per month and it will prevent this from escalating. See this guide.

And yes, a cosigner can get their Social Security benefits garnished. A federal student loan is one of the few things that can do that. But if he does get his benefits garnished, see this guide to potentially stop it.

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