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Student Loan Debt Can Sink Your Retirement Plan

Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Harriet Edleson | AARP
Diane Standaert

If you’ve defaulted on a federal student loan, beware: The federal government can take up to 15 percent of your Social Security benefit.

The number of people 60 and older with student loan debt quadrupled from 700,000 to 2.8 million between 2005 and 2015, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), threatening financial stability for those heading into retirement. And in fiscal year 2015 alone, almost 114,000 borrowers age 50 and older had Social Security benefits seized to repay defaulted federal student loans, according to a 2016 Government Accountability Office report. (Private student loans are not subject to Social Security garnishment.)