Student Loan Collections Push Older Borrowers into Poverty
According to a new National Consumer Law Center report, Pushed into Poverty: How Student Loan Collections Threaten the Financial Security of Older Americans, the federal government's draconian student loan collection policies increasingly force older adults into poverty by seizing Social Security benefits to repay defaulted student loans.
Social Security provides a crucial safety net that typically accounts for the majority of an older adult's cash income, and, in many cases, it accounts for nearly all of the older adult's income. Without Social Security, almost half of all older adults aged 65 and over would fall below the poverty line.
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the number of consumers age 60 and older with student loan debt has quadrupled over the last decade. Sadly, nearly half of all older borrowers aged 65 and over have already defaulted on their federal student loans and now risk having their Social Security benefits seized.
Many of these older borrowers already struggle with affording basic living needs and are forced to forgo essential healthcare needs, such as prescription drugs and doctor's visits, in order to satisfy outstanding loan payments. Furthermore, there is no statute of limitations on student loan collection and very few bankruptcy options exist, which means older borrowers could have their Social Security benefits seized for the rest of their lives.
To combat this problem, Senators Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio) have introduced the Protection of Social Security Benefits Restoration Act (Senate Bill S. 959). This bill prohibits the government from seizing older borrowers' Social Security disability and retirement income for defaulted student loans.
Please call your U.S. Senators and urge them to support Senate Bill S. 959.
Des Moines Register EDITORIAL: Trump protects nursing homes at seniors' expense
Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed a rule rescinding an Obama-era regulation prohibiting nursing homes from requiring patients and their families to sign binding arbitration agreements. Signing those agreements, which are frequently part of admission paperwork, means giving up the right to sue a facility.
Bernie Madoff rots in prison, tortured by one question: "Why, Oh why didn't I just use forced arbitration clauses! I could still be raking it in!"
Criminal Bank Seeks to Use Forced Arbitration to Avoid Justice
After Promising to Make Things Right, Wells Fargo Asks Judge to Kick Defrauded Consumers out of Court
June 6, 2017
Contact: Amanda Werner, email@example.com, (202) 973-8004
Tomorrow, a federal judge in Utah will decide whether more than 50 consumers defrauded by banking giant Wells Fargo in its fake account scandal will be forced to pursue claims one-by-one in a secret arbitration system. As the bank loudly promises to restore consumer trust, Wells Fargo is quietly insisting that defrauded customers should be barred from holding it accountable in court by pointing to “ripoff clauses” buried deep in its contracts.
Customers represented in Mitchell v. Wells Fargo argue that the bank cannot use its contracts as a shield against liability for systemic fraud. While forced arbitration has been upheld in many contexts, the customers claim they could not reasonably understand that signing a standard agreement for one product would block them from suing over a separate account they never agreed to open. Indeed, at least one consumer represented in this class action never even banked with Wells Fargo or signed an account contract.
Experts from the Fair Arbitration Now (FAN) coalition are available to comment on this hearing, as well as a forthcoming rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that would restrict the use of arbitration clauses in future consumer financial contracts. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to speak with an expert in the FAN coalition.
John Gear is a Salem attorney in solo practice