May 3, 2017
The Honorable Ron Wyden
221 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Wyden:
On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I write to endorse your bill, S. 959, the “Protection of Social Security Benefits Restoration Act.” I would also like to thank Senators Sherrod Brown, Dianne Feinstein, Kirsten Gillibrand, Mazie Hirono, Patrick Leahy, Jeff Merkley, Bill Nelson, Bernie Sanders, Brian Schatz, Elizabeth Warren and Sheldon Whitehouse for cosponsoring S. 959.
Since the inception of the Social Security program in 1935, the Social Security Act provided strong protections against loss of retirement income through the garnishment or attachment of Social Security benefits for the purpose of recovering debts owed by retirees. For decades the law provided near iron-clad protection against impoverishment in old age due to debt collection.
Unfortunately, in 1996 the Congress reversed course by authorizing the garnishment of Social Security and other earned benefits for the purpose of collecting debts owed by seniors to the federal government. Figuring prominently in this matter is the recovery of student loan debts from seniors who are living on their all-too-modest monthly Social Security benefits.
With student loan debt becoming an increasingly serious problem in this country, we agree with you that now is the time to act. The Congress must restore the historic protections that once were provided by Social Security against the spectacle of impoverishment in old age so that the federal government can collect debts that all too often were incurred years, even decades ago.
For these reasons, the National Committee endorses your bill, S. 959, and urges other members of the United States Senate to cosponsor this vitally important measure. We thank you for your leadership on this matter and look forward to working with you to enact the “Protection of Social Security Benefits Restoration Act.”
President and CEO