Forgiving student debt will help senior citizens

Forgiving student debt will assist senior residents

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) (R) listens as U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks throughout a information convention on Capitol Hill on October 20, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Stefani Reynolds | Getty Images

The folks elected two leaders — President Biden and Vice President Harris — who dedicated to boosting our financial system by cancelling billions of {dollars} in student loan debt. That dedication impacts extra older Americans than you would possibly assume. 

Right now, over 43 million folks within the United States are buried beneath $1.5 trillion {dollars} in federal student loan debt, together with 6.3 million debtors ages 50-64 and practically one million debtors over the age of 65 who should still be paying for a beloved one’s training or for their very own. They’ve carried that burden whereas the wealthy have gotten richer within the midst of this pandemic.

This is not proper. And it is no marvel so many Americans do not assume Washington works for them. 

But the Biden-Harris administration can repair it. We are calling on President Biden and Vice President Harris to right away cancel as much as $50,000 in federal student loan debt. The U.S. Department of Education holds that debt and might cancel it, too. This is strictly what Joe Biden and Kamala Harris ought to direct their Education secretary to do.

The student debt burden for older Americans has grown at an alarming price: According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), in 2004 adults aged 50 and older accounted for $47 billion of student loan debt, however by 2018, that determine had skyrocketed to $289.5 billion. In reality, student debt is among the greatest contributors to the rise within the quantity of debt seniors maintain general. And like the huge debt burden on youthful Americans, attempting to stability this mountain of student debt inevitably drags our seniors down too.

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Every 12 months, the federal authorities shoves tens of hundreds of seniors into poverty or near-poverty by garnishing Social Security advantages to make up what’s owed in student loan funds, undermining one of many nation’s most profitable anti-poverty applications. In 2015, the federal authorities garnished the Social Security checks of virtually 114,000 Americans.

This discount in advantages is usually not even sufficient to cowl the ballooning curiosity funds, and the features for the federal authorities are miniscule. In reality, greater than 70% of garnished Social Security advantages had been simply going towards student loan charges and curiosity, and never paying down seniors’ principal balances, leaving many seniors with a decreased way of life simply to remain caught in a cycle of inescapable debt.

The outcomes for seniors who depend on Social Security to place meals on the desk or maintain a roof over their heads are devastating. That’s amoral and predatory, and it’s not a federal authorities that is working for older Americans.

Older Americans with student debt embrace individuals who could not have had an opportunity at a level after they had been youthful as a result of they’d a household to assist, however took a shot on the American dream and went to school later in life. Now their student debt eats away on the retirement safety they labored so arduous for.

It contains mother and father who made sacrifices by taking over a mum or dad loan so their child or dependent grandkid might obtain an training and construct a profitable future. Now their hard-earned revenue and security internet for retirement is dwindling as their debt load outpaces curiosity. This is particularly true for folks residing on a set revenue throughout retirement.

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Whether they took on student debt for themselves or for a beloved one, in each conditions, they had been advised that training is the ticket to the American dream, which might inevitably result in a financially safe retirement. But, that is not the case for 37% of Americans over the age of 65 who’re in default on their student loans, based on AARP. 

Bottom line: the federal authorities has turned its again on Americans younger and outdated with student loan debt. The system failed them, and at the moment, they’re drowning in debt when they need to be experiencing retirement safety of their golden years. The debt burden undermines the federal security internet applications – like Social Security – created in order that Americans might stay financially safe.

No older particular person ought to should make life-altering choices between paying their student loan fee, placing meals on the desk, or maintaining themselves and their households secure and wholesome, particularly throughout this public well being disaster. Older Americans should not should restrict day by day meals in order that they make a month-to-month fee. And they positively should not have their hard-earned Social Security stripped from them.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris can cancel as much as $50,000 in student loan debt for our seniors, and we hope you will be part of us in urging them to take action.  

Chuck Schumer, a Democrat of New York, is the Senate majority chief. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, represents Massachusetts within the Senate.

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