U.S. Department of Education temporarily suspends wage garnishments, collection actions for student loans

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WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 12: U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos testifies during a hearing before House Education and Labor Committee December 12, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing on “Examining the Education Department’s Implementation of Borrower Defense.” (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — In a move to help those with student loans amid the coronavirus outbreak, the U.S. Department of Education will halt all collection and wage garnishments for a 60 day period which began on March 13.

“These are difficult times for many Americans, and we don’t want to do anything that will make it harder for them to make ends meet or create additional stress,” said Secretary Betsy DeVos. “Americans counting on their tax refund or Social Security check to make ends meet during this national emergency should receive those funds, and our actions today will make sure they do.”

During this time, the U.S. Treasury will not withhold any money from the defaulted borrower’s federal income tax refunds, Social Security payments or other payments.

If the money was in the process of being taken out on March 13, a refund will be issued. The U.S. Department of Education estimated that 830,000 people will receive a refund, totaling $1.8 billion.

Collection agencies have also been ordered to stop making phones calls and issuing collection letters and billing statements.

If the money is still taken out of your check, call your employer’s human resource department for guidance.

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