In a move that was applauded by Social Security recipients and federal lawmakers alike, the Social Security Administration announced earlier this week that it was indefinitely suspending its controversial debt collection efforts.
Until 2008, federal law granted federal agencies like the SSA the ability to refer outstanding debts to the Treasury Department, directing it to seize tax refunds as a means of settling debts that were a maximum of ten years old up. After this time, the law was changed such that the SSA and its counterparts could seize tax refunds for debts that were more than ten years old, a move that greatly expanded debt collection capabilities.
Indeed, the SSA has collected $55 million in debts, the majority of it via seized tax refunds, and has named 400,000 recipients with outstanding debts.
While you might be tempted to think that the collection efforts would have drawn praise from federal lawmakers, it has actually been the opposite.