Florida Estate Planning and Probate Law Blog focused on recent case law and planning ideas.

STUDENT LOAN DEBT AND SOCIAL SECURITY DUE NOT MIX

Student loan debt is not dischargeable in bankruptcy. As a result, the baby boomer’s generation enters retirement with student loan debt (approximately seven million Americans age 50 and older owed about $205 billion in federal student debt in 2016), either borrowed for their own educations or to pay for their children’s, with approximately 33% in default. Those in default will be shocked to learn that their Social Security checks can be reduced (known as an “Offset”) to repay their student loan debt. The Offset can be as large as 15% of a social security recipient’s benefit payment. This has left some Social Security recipients at or below the poverty level. Government statistics show that older borrowers had a monthly Offset of approximately $140, and almost half of them were subject to the maximum possible reduction. In 2015, the Department of Education collected about $4.5 billion on defaulted student loan debt. A total of $171 million, almost 10%, was collected through an Offset.