Protection of Social Security Benefits Restoration Act (S.959)


Under current law, the federal government can recover delinquent student loans and other federal debts in a variety of ways, including withholding from an individual’s Social Security benefits. While the cost of college has continued to rise, the limits on how much of an individual’s Social Security benefits are protected from federal government garnishment have stayed the same for 20 years. As a result, cutting earned benefits – like Social Security – to collect federal debts such as student loans can create a severe financial hardship for vulnerable, low-income seniors as well as  individuals with disabilities living on fixed incomes.

The Protection of Social Security Benefits Restoration Act would repeal a 1996 change in law that allowed earned benefits to be garnished as a means of  collecting federal debts like student loans. This legislation would re-establish the strong protections in the Social Security Act, and thus guarantee beneficiaries will continue to receive benefits once they have incurred student loans.


This bill was introduced in the Senate by Senator Ron Wyden [D-OR] in April of 2017. It was read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on Finance.

Cosponsors as of June 20th 2017


Brown, Sherrod [D-OH]

Feinstein, Dianne [D-CA]

Kirsten E. Gillibrand [D-NY]

Jeff Merkley [D-OR]

Bernard Sanders [D-VT]

Elizabeth Warren [D-MA]

Sheldon Whitehouse [D-RI]

Mazie Hirono [D-HI]

Brian Schatz [D-HI]

Patrick J. Leahy [D-VT]

Bill Nelson [D-FL]