Crushing student loan debt is not only applicable to the young and penniless. Some senior citizens are seeing their Social Security checks garnished due to student debt they couldn’t repay. And thanks to the $18.2 billion that older adults owe as of 2013, many seniors could face “a poverty-level standard of living in retirement.”

So while at one end of the spectrum student debt has been holding back young college graduates faced with unpromising career opportunities due to the economy, at the other end the elderly’s pockets are being picked for money they put toward an education in hopes of a better life, only to find themselves facing destitution during their golden years.

BBC News:

In 2005, older adults owed $2.8bn (£1.61bn) in federal student debt. By 2013, that figure had ballooned to $18.2bn, according to a report released last month by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

These seniors account for 706,000 households in the United States – small compared to the 22 million households with non-seniors who hold student load debt, but a growing problem. People over 65 also defaulted on their student loan debt at a much higher rate than other segments of the population, says Charles Jeszeck, author of the GAO report…

According to the GAO study, the number of individuals whose Social Security benefits were offset to pay student loan debt increased from about 31,000 to 155,000 between 2002-13. Jeszeck tells the BBC that this situation can cause considerable problems for older adults who, like Dupree, may have to extend their working life well beyond retirement age.

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—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata


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