A little–noticed law could soon result in smaller Social Security checks for hundreds of thousands of the elderly and disabled who owe the U.S. money from defaulted loans and other debts more than a decade old.
Social Security benefits are off–limits to creditors, such as credit–card companies and banks. But the U.S. can collect debts to federal agencies by “offsetting,” or withholding Social Security and disability payments.
The Treasury currently withholds benefits of 3.1 million Social Security recipients to recover defaulted student–, farm– and small–business loans, unpaid income taxes, amounts veterans owe for health care, and other debts to the government.
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