Washington, DC – The Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), released the following statement commending the Department of Education for ending the garnishment of Social Security benefits for persons with disabilities, and for announcing a path toward student loan forgiveness for that population:

“I am pleased that the Department of Education answered my call to protect Social Security benefits for those who need it the most” Rep. Grijalva said. “The announcement is a significant step that will ease the process of obtaining student loan forgiveness.  Every day, people from across this country scrape by living paycheck to paycheck; earning a higher education should never add to their struggles.

“I applaud the Department of Education and the administration for making this issue a priority. Their actions will better the lives of people who are saddled with student debt. I encourage them to build on these actions by making everyone currently seeing their benefits garnished eligible for a loan discharge.”

“Social Security is one of the most successful programs in our country, and one that many seniors and people with disabilities rely on as their only source of income.” Rep. Ellison said. “I’m pleased that the Department of Education has decided to forgive student loans for disabled Americans, but Social Security garnishment for these loans must end completely. It is simply wrong to deny thousands of retired Americans the money they have earned and rely on to put food on the table or buy medicine because they can’t afford to pay back old college debts.”

Last week, the Department of Education announced action to end the garnishment of the Social Security benefits for those with Total and Permanent Disabilities (TPD), which make up a large portion of individuals having benefits garnished for student debt. Beginning on April 18, 2016, eligible individuals will receive a customized letter explaining that the borrower is eligible for loan forgiveness and the simple steps needed to receive a discharge.