U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is facing a lawsuit accusing her of illegally seizing wages from student loan borrowers, despite the fact that there is supposed to be a freeze on student loan payments, Politico reports.
The lawsuit was filed by a woman from upstate New York this week filed on behalf of nearly 300,000 borrowers who say that the Department of Education has continued swiping money from their paychecks even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Education Department first announced in March that it “would take administrative action to automatically stop the Education Department from seizing the wages — and tax refunds — of defaulted student loan borrowers for at least two months,” Politico writes. “Congress then included that policy in the CARES Act and extended it, prohibiting the Education Department from garnishing wages or tax refunds through Sept. 30.”
After being caught, department officials said that they plan to refund the garnished wages of student loan borrowers, although they have not provided any timeline for doing so, according to the report.
Persis Yu, who directs the National Consumer Law Center’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project, told Politico that it is not acceptable to wait months before returning the garnished wages at a time when so many are going through economic hardship.
“We’re in a national crisis right now, and borrowers need that money right now, and Congress passed a law that said borrowers should keep that money right now,” she said
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