For more than a year, Jamie Chastain had $ 177 withheld from his Social Security check each month because of an unpaid student loan from three decades ago.
The 68-year-old has been struggling to pay off his debt since 1982 when he borrowed about $ 12,500 to get a Master’s degree in Liberal Arts from the University of Southern Florida. It took him nearly a decade to find a steady job, and he defaulted on his loans before finding work at a community college as a media technician and humanities instructor. The government garnished his wages by about $ 400 a month throughout most of his career to collect the debt.
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