Student debt is growing faster for seniors than for any other age group, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.
Lingering student loan debt is part of a broader and, many elder-care lawyers say, devastating accumulation of debt among older Americans. For some, it may be college loans they neglected to pay, or new loans they took out to send their children to college.
Though people aged 50 and older hold only 17 percent of all U.S. student debt, this group has nearly three times as much debt as it did in 2005, according to the New York Fed data. By comparison, student debt for people under 40 is about one and a half times as high it was then.
For older Americans, owing for government-backed student loans can be particularly tough. Unlike other kinds of debt, including private student loans, collectors of federal student loan debt have the power to garnish income, block benefits and withhold tax refunds. As a result, some borrowers are seeing part of their Social Security payments seized and their wages cut off.