During her time as the Secretary of Education, Betsey Devos has plummeted the department into the ground with another lawsuit for garnishing wages from student borrowers during the coronavirus. Devos announced in March that she would take administrative action to prevent this practice, and the Trump CARES act protects borrowers from such measures. Politico reported that an upstate New York woman working for $13 an hour as a home health aide worker had $70 garnished from her paycheck this week. She is filing a lawsuit on behalf of herself and the other 285,000 borrowers’ wages reportedly garnished between the two week margin of March 13 to March 26th.
The people being garnished are fighting for their wages to be returned to help combat the financial stress that covid-19 presents to America. With unemployment at an all time high in America, as well as the emotional toll of loved one falling ill, the last thing the DOE should be doing is garnishing wages from those still working in essential positions.
In the Politico article, Department of Education spokesperson Angela Morabito only commented that letters to stop garnishments were sent to employers. This action seems redundant as it is not employers responsible for the garnished wages, but are only following the orders of the Department of Education and the collection agencies they hire to take these payments out of the hands of borrowers. The DOE also announced after Trump declared the national emergency that garnished wages previous to March 13th will be refunded, yet there is no deadline as to when these wages will be returned.
The lawsuit was filed by the Student Defense and National Consumer Law and supported by the Student Borrower Protection Center. It also has support from Congressional representatives like Rep. Ayanna Presssley (D-Mass) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). Members of Congress across both isles and in both houses have raised previous concerns regarding the DOE, from the faulty public service loan forgiveness program to not removing the debt of disabled veterans as Trump announced in November. The DOE are making the pathways to loan forgiveness narrower and narrower, even during our current crisis.
Image Credit: Michael Vadon via Flickr