WHEREAS, over the past several decades, employers nationwide have been eliminating defined-benefit pension plans resulting in 18 percent of private sector employees having a defined-benefit pension in 2015 compared with 35 percent in 1990 and 28 percent of overall employees in 2015 having a defined-benefit pension compared with 74 percent in 1975; and
WHEREAS, the median savings of households (ages 55-65) is just $12,000; and
WHEREAS, without a pension plan or accumulated savings, American workers are increasingly retiring to precarious circumstances, relying upon Social Security to stave off poverty; and
WHEREAS, Social Security Benefits were first taxed in 1984, and the age for full retirement benefits was raised from 65 to the current 66 as a result of legislation passed by Congress in 1983 and will eventually be raised to 67; and
WHEREAS, prior to retirement, many seniors had assumed debt in the form of student loans in order to pay for their own education or that of a child or grandchild; and
WHEREAS, senior citizen student debt increased from $2.8 billion in 2005 to $18.2 billion in 2013; and
WHEREAS, student loans are almost impossible to be forgiven even in bankruptcy, and interest rates cannot be easily reduced; and
WHEREAS, in 2013, the federal government garnished $150 million from the monthly benefits of 36,000 seniors 65 and older, further cutting a hole in what is supposed to be their safety net; and
WHEREAS, this number is expected to grow as more baby boomers retire:
RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers join the Alliance for Retired Americans in calling on the federal government to end the practice of garnishing Social Security to pay student loan debt.
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 Altman, Nancy and Kingson, Eric. “Social Security Works: Why Social Security Isn’t Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help Us All,” New York: New York Press, 2015. Print.
 “Older Americans: Inability to Repay Student Loans May Affect Financial Security of a Small Percentage of Retirees,” U.S. Government Accountability Office, GAO-14-866T, Sept. 10, 2014. http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-866T.
 “Older Americans Inability to Repay Student Loans May Affect Financial Security of a Small Percentage of Retirees,” (Publication No. GAO-14-866T), Government Accountability Office. (2014). Washington, DC: Web.