Thursday, December 08, 2005

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor leads court in seizing Social Security benefits.

Still owe the governments for school loans? Well they might not have just disappeared and you could still be reponsible to pay them using your social security benefits.

A 9-0 supreme court ruling gave the government the green light to tap the social security benefits for repayment of delinquent student loans.The result was a ruling in the case of James Lockhart, who had received loans while attending four higher education institutions between the years of 1984 and 1989. Lockhart had received a total of nine federally guaranteed loans totalling $80,000.00.

Mr. Lockhart became disabled and was drawing a disabilty check of which $93 a month was being withheld by the government. When Lockhart reached the age of retirement the government increased his withholdings to $143 each month. Retirees are now responsible to pay as much as 15% of their income for repayment of school loans.

In response Lockhart filed a lawsuit to stop the seizure on his benefit, but federal judges in Seattle and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against him. Both judges cited that the Higher Education Act authorizes the government to seize all forms of funds as a way to repay debt.

Lockhart vs. United States was taken up by the Supreme Court to both resolve the dispute, and affirm the decision of the 9th Circuit Court. The justices concluded in a ruling written by Sandra Day O'Connor that the amended Higher Education Act had indeed repealed the 10-year limit.


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