Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Cutting Funding for SSDI and SSI

What is Right should transcend any and all political affiliations, where you come from should not preclude your access to opportunities afforded to others. Americans who were born with a disability or developed one due to a medical syndrome or by way of injury, should be able to rely on assistance from both Federal and state governments. Without the aid of social welfare programs, people would not be able to get by in life, with any semblance of financial security.

Following this line of thinking, as practicing attorneys, our loyalties can only reside with equality before law. Personal or political beliefs listing one direction or another, should not influence our ability to give people the best defense possible. And speaking out when people are clearly being left behind, disenfranchised or forgotten should be considered a duty.

In the field of Social Security law, undercutting funding (or attempts to) for disability benefits is something we see far too often. Keeping in mind that nearly 10 million Americans rely on such subsidies, even a slight decrease in funding allotted for SSA programs come as huge personal costs to all those concerned. So when, last week, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney presented the administration's 2018 budget and it was revealed what programs like Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) could expect in funding in the coming years—cause for concern would be an understatement.

Serious Cuts to SSDI and SSI Funding

Director Mulvaney announced a proposed cut in funding for SSDI and SSI by $72 billion over the next ten years, CBS News reports. It gets worse, the promised slice in funding is part of a $1.74 trillion cut in social welfare funding by the current administration. If proposals come to fruition it could mean a significant number of beneficiaries being expelled from SSA programs they rely on to get by monthly.

"Where are the morals of the people going after people dealing with Stage 4 cancer?" said Heather Block, a 54-year-old former international aid worker from Lewes, Delaware who has been on disability for five years after her cancer spread to her liver and lungs. "The people I know, like me, with advanced cancer — we've wanted to be in the workplace, but we don't have that ability now, so this is our income." 

The Arc, a non-profit advocacy group for people living with disabilities estimates that about 946,000 SSDI people could be booted from SSDI, or barred from eligibility, according to the article. The organization estimates that 2.1 million people could lose out on SSI.

"All evidence is that the agency [SSA] is making every effort to make accurate decisions and to make sure people get the right benefits at the right time," said TJ Sutcliffe, the Arc’s director of income and housing policy. He added, "Cutting people's basic living standards and ability to get by after experiencing the onset of a disability is not a way to help to get people to work."

Concerns Over SSDI Fraud

Even though Carolyn Colvin, the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration in 2014, testified that that disability fraud was below 1 percent, there is an unfounded belief in the current administration that fraud is a serious problem, the article reports. And that pushing individuals back into the labor force could save the government billions of dollars. Additionally, to disability insurance lawyers and experts, the presentation given by Director Mulvaney revealed a fundamental misunderstanding of SSDI.

Please take a moment to watch a short video on the subject:
If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

At Driscoll Law Corporation, we are hopeful that the administration will rethink the proposed cuts in funding to programs that help people who are, arguably, the most in need of assistance. We will continue to follow any updates about this subject. If you are need help with the process of applying and qualifying for disability benefits, please contact us today.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Garnishing Social Security for Student Loans

social security
Social Security is dear to us at the Driscoll Law Corporation. Our main focus is on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), two programs which fall under the umbrella of the Social Security Administration (SSA). Such programs help both individuals and families stay above water despite being unable to work. But it is important to remember that the SSA is charged with ensuring that Americans have extra income to fall back on when they retire. Something that many Americans are not fully benefiting from due to student loan defaults.

Loans for education are normally associated with young adults in their early twenties, but believe it or not, more and more older Americans are racked with student loan debt. If such people were unable to pay off such debt, a 1996 change in the law allowed earned benefits from Social Security to be garnished. Given that Americans are notoriously bad at saving for retirement, the loss of SSA benefits could mean people might have to live in abject poverty upon retirement.

The Protection of Social Security Benefits Restoration Act

There is a good chance that when reading the above words, you rolled your eyes, or found yourself with an unsettling feeling. Rightly so, people in their 60’s and 70’s who have earned the right to retire are put in a position that could mean having to continue to work. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report which found that the number of seniors whose Social Security checks have been garnished because of student loan defaults has grown by 380% between 2002 (36,000 beneficiaries) and 2015 (173,000 beneficiaries).

Approximately 870,000 seniors, aged 65 and older, holding student debt currently have watched their total debt grow by a factor of 10 over a ten-year period, The Motley Fool reports. From $2 billion to $22 billion. The report showed that seniors who've fallen below the poverty line due to defaulting on their student loans and subsequent garnishments rose from 8,300 in 2004 to 67,300 in 2015.

Senators Ron Wyden (D-Or.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) introduced the Protection of Social Security Benefits Restoration Act which would prohibit the federal government from garnishing Social Security retirement and disability benefits to cover a beneficiary's defaulted student loans, according to the article. The bill has many co-sponsors, including Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Sen. Ron Wyden said:

"Americans shouldn't see their Social Security checks ripped away because of the increasing burden of student loan debt. People who have worked hard and paid into the program count on these benefits just to survive -- there ought to be basic protections to defend struggling Americans from having their earned Social Security benefits cut by the federal government."

SSA Help

If you, or a loved one could use help with SSA benefits, please contact Stephanie Merritt Driscoll. If you can’t work, have been denied SSA benefits, or are applying for the first time—as a Social Security disability advocate, Attorney Driscoll can help.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

SSA Plain Writing Compliance Report

Plain Writing Act
“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” — Thomas Jefferson 

If you are in need of assistance from one of the various Social Security Administration (SSA) programs, such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the first place you might turn to for information is likely to be the Internet. The SSA website is meant to be guide to help access certain benefits that can make or break one’s ability to keep a roof over your head or food on the table. While that course of action is simple in theory, for years countless people have found the process of applying for social assistance programs utterly confusing, which can hinder some from accessing the help they desperately need.

Naturally, pleading one’s case for SSDI or SSI is a process that takes some time, there are number of requirements that one must fulfill in order to gain access to the benefits they need. How clearly the steps that need to be taken are explained by the SSA can make all the difference. Your average person is probably not familiar with the language employed by most government agencies, let alone one so vital as the Social Security Administration.

The Plain Writing Act of 2010

In an effort to help the average citizen navigate the waters for of any government agency, including social welfare, the Plain Writing Act of 2010 was signed into law. “An act to enhance citizen access to Government information and services by establishing that Government documents issued to the public must be written clearly, and for other purposes.”

Government agencies thus, under the law were required to essentially rewrite, shorten or remove esoteric jargon that might confuse your average American. And in it stead, provide clear and concise information. Information that “the public can understand and use."

SSA benefits are vital to millions of Americans, a number that continues to grow with each year that passes. The agency understands and is committed to improving the readability of its websites, notices, PDFs, and public-facing documents.

2016 Plain Writing Compliance Report

The process of trimming all writing, across multiple platforms is no easy task, requiring thousands of man-hours and the assistance of information technologies. Recently, the SSA released a report highlighting the progress the agency has made and what they will work on moving forward. Notably:
  • Training employees on Plain Writing, business writing and grammar, and effective writing techniques.
  • Completing a one-year pilot of the Acrolinx editing tool, and purchased licenses for FY 2017;
  • Earning a “B+” for the Writing and Information Design grade on the Federal Plain Language Report Card.
“Our 2016 Plain Writing Compliance Report documents this year’s agency-wide compliance activities and accomplishments. One significant action was to pilot the Acrolinx software. Nearly 500 employees took part in this pilot. Acrolinx has become a valuable tool in our efforts to promote Plain Writing and uniformity when complying with the Act throughout the agency.”

Need Help With the SSA

Qualifying for disability benefits can be trying, leading to unneeded stress. If you, or a loved one could use help, please contact Stephanie Merritt Driscoll. If you can’t work, have been denied SSA benefits, or are applying for the first time—as a Social Security disability advocate, Attorney Driscoll can help.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

National Social Security Month

“No greater tragedy exists in modern civilization than the aged, worn-out worker who after a life of ceaseless effort and useful productivity must look forward for his declining years to a poorhouse. A modern social consciousness demands a more humane and efficient arrangement."
—President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (February 28, 1929)

In 1935, President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act. The aim was to help those in need of financial assistance, and over the decades the legislation has kept millions of Americans afloat—particularly older people and the disabled. Without the aid of programs, like Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), multitudes of people would needlessly suffer. Even those who are not struggling with a disability rely heavily on Social Security, benefits that people can begin to collect at 62-years of age.

Social Security is used in reference to the federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Whether you work for a company, or are self-employed, some of the taxes you pay every year go towards social security. Funds that can be drawn from later in life, when one’s ability to work or desire to work diminishes. While Social Security benefits can greatly help, it is important to keep in mind that such benefits only replace approximately 40 percent of pre-retirement earnings.

Now, 82-years since FDR made Social Security the law of the land, the Nation is being asked to observe the first National Social Security Month. Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security is asking Americans to takes steps to ensure their financial security, according to an agency press release. Throughout the month of April, the SSA will be providing advice for “developing a sound financial plan that includes Social Security as a foundation.”

On April 20, 2017—Social Security will participate in a Facebook Live Chat, hosted by USA.gov, at 7:00 p.m. ET. At which time, you, the public, may ask questions about the “5 Steps Toward Financial Security.” Those steps include:
  • Get to know your Social Security
  • Verify your lifetime earnings with a my Social Security account
  • Estimate your future Social Security benefits at my Social Security
  • Apply online for retirement, disability, or Medicare benefits
  • Manage your Social Security benefits
If you would like to be involved, all you have to do is follow USA.gov and Social Security on Facebook.

“With retirement, disability, and survivors benefits, Social Security helps secure today and tomorrow for millions of people throughout life’s journey,” Acting Commissioner Berryhill said. “By hosting National Social Security Month, we hope to help the public understand their Social Security protections and promote financial education.” 

At Driscoll Law, we are committed to helping you get the social security benefits you require. We would like to ask our readers to take some time this month to observe the first National Social Security Month, and have an active role in your financial security which we all rely heavily on in our golden years.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

SB-575: Patient Access to Health Records

People in California who would like to apply for social service benefits, such as Medi-Cal, to obtain financial assistance, must jump through several hoops and meet certain requirements. Unless you meet certain stipulations, individuals looking for coverage need to show that they do not make over a certain amount of money. For instance, the income limit is calculated as a percentage related to federal poverty guidelines. Right now, that limit is about $1,188 monthly for an individual and $1,603 for a couple. Such limits fluctuate regarding the number of dependents you have. Setting finances aside, you can also qualify for Medi-Cal if you are:
  • 65 or older
  • Blind
  • Disabled
With all that in mind, it is fairly safe to say that the majority of Californians applying for state benefit programs are at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale—impoverished or indigent. They are applying for such programs because they need help to get by in life, no easy task when you are unemployed or are living paycheck-to-paycheck.

When people apply for Medi-Cal they are required to provide medical records to support one’s claims of eligibility. If you have ever had to get copies of medical records, then you are probably aware that there are fees associated with acquiring them. Asking people to pay cash for the medical records to prove their eligibility, when they are already financially struggling to get by, is a burden that should be mitigated. Fortunately, lawmakers are working to do away with such fees.

As things stand right now throughout the state, medical providers are allowed to charge patients up to 25 cents a page for copies and 50 cents for medical records on microfilm, Southern California Public Radio reports. Additionally, clerical fees can also be added to those page costs. SB-575: Patient Access to Health Records, introduced by Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino), would require medical providers to cover copy costs. The bill is not specific to just Medi-Cal, but all social services, including: Supplemental Security Income (SSI), State Supplemental Payment (SSP) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

"If you have several pages that you need it can be quite costly," said Leyva. "They [providers] can afford to absorb these costs. The poor people who are trying to receive their records cannot." 

Patient Access to Health Records, if passed, would also waive the medical record copy fees for people applying for:
  • In-Home Supportive Services
  • California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs)
  • CalFresh
As of April 3, 2017, SB-575 has passed the Senate Health committee and was referred back to the Senate Judiciary committee. 

If you have additional questions regarding the SSI and SSDI application processes, let our office help you through the lengthy and complicated process of applying and qualifying for these social security disability benefits. Call Driscoll Law Corporation at 949-359-1370 to receive your free consultation. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Return to Work Act Affects SSDI Benefits

New legislation is has been drafted and introduced in the Senate and House that could have a serious impact on beneficiaries of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). In what has been framed as an effort to help people with disabilities rejoin the workforce, the Return to Work Act requires that new beneficiaries be classified with regard to expectation of improvement, FRN reports. The bill, if passed, would make it more difficult for SSDI beneficiaries to maintain their monthly subsistence payments for several years or the remainder of one’s life.

 The legislation was introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Mike Lee (R-UT), according to the article. In the House of Representatives, a similar bill was introduced by Rep. French Hill (R-AR). The Return to Work Act is still in its infancy, but from what has been stated thus far, new beneficiaries would be broken up into four groups, including:
  • Medical Improvement Expected
  • Medical Improvement Likely
  • Medical Improvement Possible
  • Medical Improvement Not Expected
“Social Security Disability Insurance is supposed to be a safety net for people with disabilities,” Sen. Marco Rubio. “However, rampant abuse, lax enforcement and insufficient accountability have enabled this program to grow unchecked and prevented many people from going back to work. The health of our national economy and strength of our communities depend on able-bodied Americans earning paychecks. This legislation represents a long overdue reform that takes care of working Americans and saves our social safety net for the truly disabled.”

In defense of their bill, the Senators cite research which showed that the number of SSDI beneficiaries rose from 1.4 million in 1970 to nearly 9 million today, according to the article. Furthermore, the cost of the program has risen from $20 billion to $137 billion during the same time period. Senator Cotton has stated that only one-half of one percent of SSDI recipients return to work and discontinue their coverage, but the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) data (current through 2016), indicate that last year 8.81 percent of SSDI recipients were removed from SSI rolls in 2016. That is 830,044 out of a total 8,808,736 beneficiaries.

If the bill is passed and new beneficiaries are broken up into subjective categories, it will work something like the following.
  • Improvement is Expected: SSDI benefits would automatically terminate after two years.
  • Improvement is Likely: SSDI benefits would terminate after five years.
  • Improvement Possible: no automatic cutoff.
  • Improvement Not Expected: no automatic cutoff.
All beneficiaries whose support is terminated will be allowed to reapply and show why they still need their benefits. In a completely unrelated effort, Rep. Joyce Beatty, an Ohio Democrat, introduced a bill with a similar moniker, the Return to Work Awareness Act of 2017, NPQ reports. If passed, the legislation would engage the U.S. Department of Labor in efforts to “assist survivors of stroke and such other debilitating health occurrences in returning to work.”

If you live in Southern California and are experiencing problems with an SSDI or SSI application, please contact Driscoll Law Corporation for a free consultation.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

ALS Disability Insurance Access Act of 2017

ALS Disability Insurance Access Act
Last summer we covered an important piece of legislation that would have had a life-saving implications for people diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). If passed, the ALS Disability Insurance Access Act would have put an end to the 5-month waiting period ALS patients had to endure before receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The way it works, at the moment, ALS patients who meet the requirements for SSDI must wait five months before they can receive both SSDI and Medicare benefits. Unfortunately, the proposal was never completed, but please do not despair for all is not lost.

A group of lawmakers from both sides of the political landscape have voiced their support for a new bill that addresses the subject. The ALS Disability Insurance Access Act of 2017 was introduced in both houses of Congress, H.R.1171 and S.379 respectively, ALS News Today reports. The proposal has the full support of the ALS Association and if passed, would mean patients could immediately start receiving benefits.

“This legislation is especially important for people with ALS, for whom five months can mean the difference between life and death,” said Barbara Newhouse, president and CEO of the ALS Association, in a press release. “Nearly half of those living with ALS will die within 16 months of diagnosis, so it’s critical that they receive the benefits they deserve and have paid for as quickly as possible.”

The bill was introduced by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) introduced the bill in the Senate. In the House of Representatives, a companion bill was introduced by Representative Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and Representative Peter King (R-N.Y.). What’s more, five California Democratic congressmen are co-sponsoring H.R. 1171 and Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) is co-sponsoring the Senate bill.

“Given the prognosis for those diagnosed with ALS, it defies common sense and decency to require these same individuals to wait for benefits they have paid for and most importantly deserve,” Rep. King said. “I am proud to stand with the ALS community in support of this bipartisan bill.”

At Driscoll Law Corporation we would like to express our full support for the ALS Disability Insurance Access Act of 2017. With any life threatening, incurable disorder, everything that can be done to ensure the best quality of life for ALS patients, should be done. We will continue to follow the progress of this vital legislation.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Taxing Social Security Benefits

With April around the corner, millions of Americans are gearing up for tax season. For some people this is a dreaded time, while others are elated as they eagerly await an expected tax refund. For those who receive government benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), Social Security and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), this can be a time of confusion.

While SSA benefits are generally believed to be tax-free, there are some exceptions that many SSA-reliant Americans should be made aware. For instance, if you receive income for retirement, you might owe the Internal Revenue Service taxes on up to 85% of your SSA benefits, WKYC report. Your filing status (i.e. single or married) can also have an impact on how much of your social security benefits may be taxable. It can be a little tricky to figure out how much one owes in expected taxes in the year’s fiscal-quarters, but there is assistance.

If you make under $64,000 a year, you can simply e-file your return and the software will do the math for you regarding the taxable component of your benefits, according to the article. However, if you make over the aforementioned annual income, you will be expected to pay taxes on your Social Security benefits, so having an idea of how much to pay for your expected taxes is important. No one wants to pay more than they must, especially over the course of the year when that money might be greatly appreciated. Fortunately, there is a way to help determine how much you owe ahead of time.

Those receiving Social Security or SSDI income receive a Form SSA-1099 from the government. While the form lets you know the total amount of your benefits, it does not enlighten you about which of your benefits (if any) are taxable or at what percentage they are taxed. If you do not have an accountant, there are some ways for you to figure it all out.

Form SSA-1099 includes Notice 703, which can help guide you through the process. First, the helpful tool assists you summing up various income sources: SSA/SSDI benefit components, taxable income and Tax-Exempt Interest / Exclusions. From that total, deductions from your 1040 form are subtracted, according to the article. If the sum you derive is higher than the base value for your filing status, some of your benefits may be taxable.

If you still have questions about whether your social security benefits are taxable, see IRS Pub. 915 or your 2016 federal income tax return instructions, or visit IRS.gov and enter “social security income” in the search box. Reaching out to a qualified tax professional to help you determine your taxable benefits is advisable.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Hiring Freeze Impacts Disabled Americans

A couple months ago we wrote about the long waits that Americans are subjected to when applying for Social Security Administration (SSA) benefits. In San Diego, California, alone, people applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits have to wait 18 months on average to have their case heard by an administrative law judge. This is a process that could be drastically shortened by having more judges hearing such cases. San Diego only has 11 judges currently hearing cases.

As time passes, people's physical and financial conditions worsen to untenable points. The SSA’s mission is to help keep people who are unable to work, above water. A mission that is hindered by a serious lack of funding in recent years.

As we pointed out in December, there are roughly 1,500 judges nationwide hearing SSA cases, and 1.1 million Americans awaiting disability hearings according to SSA data. You might think that the aforementioned data would lead lawmakers to take action to increase funding for the agency, in turn leading to the hiring of more judges. Yet, since the data was released the opposite has occurred.

One of President Trump's first executive actions imposed a federal civilian employee hiring freeze, Bloomberg reports. It was an action that could actually result in disabled people having to wait longer to have their cases heard.

“These are people who are desperate,” Judge Marilyn Zahm, president of the Association of Administrative Law Judges union, said. “There may be a hiring freeze on federal employment, but there’s no freeze on people getting older, people getting sicker, people having injuries and accidents, and people needing disability insurance.” 

Several judges have been working overtime every day without compensation in an attempt to close-in on the backlog, Zahm points out. She says that some cases require judges to look over 1,000 pages of medical records and experts’ assessments.

 “This is not a job where you should be doing slapdash work,” said Zahm. “People’s lives, livelihoods, are at stake.”

If you live in Southern California and are experiencing problems with an SSDI or SSI application, please contact Driscoll Law Corporation for a free consultation. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

ABLE Act Programs Grow

Last summer, we wrote about the ABLE Act; a promising piece of legislation for Americans living with disabilities. The ABLE Act of 2014 allows people living with disability and their families to set up a tax-free savings plan, modeled after 529 plans which allow parents to set up tax-free savings accounts to use later to offset the heavy cost of college.

Two years after the ABLE Act’s passing, three states had either launched or were preparing to launch a version of the program, including Nebraska, Tennessee and Ohio. In a short period of time another seven states have adopted similar programs which could dramatically improve the lives of people with disabilities.

Before the ABLE Act, people living with a disability who saved as much a $2,000 a year could be rendered ineligible for Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, Money reports. Now, those same people can save up to $14,000 a year before it would affect their eligibility for the aforementioned benefits. A game changer, to say the least. States with ABLE Act programs now include:
  • Alaska ABLE Plan
  • Florida ABLE United
  • STABLE Kentucky
  • Michigan’s MiABLE
  • Nebraska Enable Savings Plan
  • Ohio STABLE Accounts
  • Oregon ABLE Savings Plan
  • Rhode Island’s RI’s ABLE
  • Tennessee’s ABLE TN
  • Virginia's ABLEnow
The funds that go into ABLE accounts will not count against the $2,000 asset limit for Medicaid, SSI or SSDI, according to the article. If you are living with disability in California, you may have looked at the above list with some concern, having not seen the state listed. California’s version of the program CalABLE began operations July 1, 2016 and is anticipated to open for business summer 2017, according to the Office of the State Treasury.

If you or a family member requires more information and/or assistance in filing for SSI and/or SSDI, please call Driscoll Law Corporation 949-359-1370 for a free consultation.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Garnishing Social Security Benefits

student loans
If you are one of the millions of Americans who has attended college in last couple decades, then there is a good chance you are in debt. The price of higher learning in the United States has gone, and is likely to continue to go, in one direction—up. College Board figures indicate that the average level of tuition and fees at a four-year public college rose by 87 percent (in 2014 dollars) between 2000 and 2013.

While the rising price of tuition should be in line with the amount of money graduates can expect to earn upon entering the workforce, the reality is far from the case. Meaning, there will continue to be a large percentage of people who will not be able to pay their student loans. As a result, parents often consign for their children’s student loans—at seemingly great risk.

In order to ensure that older Americans pay back what they owe, the Federal government has garnished the benefits of over a hundred-thousand people ages 50 and older in the past year, The Washington Post reports. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that more than half of them were receiving Social Security disability benefits, such as SSDI or SSI.

The government is garnishing money from people who are already living below, or on the edge of the poverty line, to pay what is owed for Federal student loans, according to the article. No more than 15 percent of one’s monthly Social Security benefits can be garnished, but it is a percentage that has never been adjusted in respect to the rising cost of living; this effectively makes impoverished people even poorer.

“We can’t be garnishing people’s Social Security in a way that puts them into poverty,” said Senator Claire McCaskill (Mo.). “We need to make sure that we have adjusted the ability of the government to recover those loan amounts in a way that is not spiraling people into poverty.” 

Data for the Social Security Administration (SSA) indicates that there are as many as 179,000 permanently disabled people in default on their student loans, according to the article. In response to what many consider to be predatory behavior, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren co-sponsored a bill last year that would prohibit the garnishing of SSA benefits for student loans (currently held-up in committee).

“Our government is shoving tens of thousands of seniors and people with disabilities into poverty through garnishment every year — and charging them $15 every month for the privilege — just so that the Department of Education can collect a little bit more interest and keep boosting the government’s student loan profits,” Warren said. “This is predatory and counterproductive.”

If you have questions about an SSA garnishment resulting from your or your child's student loan, please contact Driscoll Law Corporation.