The CARES Act was supposed to suspend all wage garnishments for borrowers in default on their government-held federal student loans. But for many student loan borrowers, that suspension has not happened — and it was supposed to be effective as of March 13, 2020, nearly eight weeks ago.
Student loan borrowers filed a lawsuit against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos earlier in May to force the Department of Education to comply with the CARES Act and stop the ongoing wage garnishments.
In a court filing today, the Department of Education disclosed that a staggering 54,000 borrowers continue to have their wages garnished despite the mandate of the CARES Act. One out of every eight student loan borrowers whose wages were being garnished prior to the effective date of the CARES Act continues to have their wages garnished today.
In the lawsuit — Elizabeth Barber v. DeVos, filed in United States District Court for the District of Columbia — student loan borrowers are seeking class action status to stop the Department of Education from continuing to garnish their wages in violation of the CARES Act. The student loan borrowers are being represented by the National Student Loan Legal Defense Network and the National Consumer Law Center, with support from the Student Borrower Protection Center. Read the complaint here.
In today’s court filing, the Department of Education did not indicate that it would (or could) immediately suspend the ongoing wage garnishments for those 54,000 borrowers, but did indicate that it is in discussions with the Plaintiffs to submit further reports to the court, and resolve the Plaintiff’s class certification motion.
Are your student loans covered by the protections of the CARES Act?