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Estate and Elder Law

Your Social Security Is Not Safe from Unpaid Student Loan Debts


Thousands of retirees are learning today that defaulting on student-debt can threaten something that used to be untouchable: their Social Security benefits. The federal government is withholding money from a rapidly growing number of Social Security recipients who have fallen behind on federal student loans. From January through August 6, the government reduced the size of roughly 115,000 retirees' Social Security checks (up from around 60,000 cases in all of 2007 and just 6 cases in 2000). The amount that the government withholds varies, though it runs up to 15%, and student loans can't be wiped out in bankruptcy.

Most of the student loan debt does not actually belong to the retiree. The borrowers went into debt to help defray education costs for their children or other dependents. Other retirees took out federal loans when they returned to college in midlife, and a few are carrying debt from their own undergraduate or graduate-school years. 

The threat of Social Security cuts adds to the overall financial woes faced by the aging baby boomer generation. Almost 45% of people aged 48 to 64 won't save enough money to cover basic needs and uninsured health care costs in retirement. Sarasota and Manatee County Florida retirees are not immune from this problem. As a result, proper estate and retirement planning is required to preserve necessary assets for the future.

View more information from Marc J. Soss at and

Marc Soss' practice focuses on estate and tax planning; probate and trust administration and litigation; guardianship law; and corporate law in Southwest Florida.  Marc is a frequent contributor to LISI and has published articles and been quoted in the Florida Bar, Rhode Island Bar, North Carolina Bar, Association of the United States Navy, Lawyers USA, Military.Com, Forbes.Com, and CNN Business. Marc also serves as an officer in the United States Naval Reserve.


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