Social Security is a safety net for millions of Americans, either for retirement, disability or for the survivors of a qualified deceased family member. But there are situations when those benefits can be cut off or curtailed. Owing the government money — even for student loans — is one trigger.
While commercial creditors can’t garnish Social Security benefits, the IRS can take a 15 percent levy to satisfy a delinquent tax debt. And student loan debt — no matter how long ago you went to school — can put your Social Security benefits at risk. Other government agencies can also tap Social Security to resolve debts, including for federally backed home loans, as well as unpaid child support and alimony.