Ways & Means Seeks Better Protections for Personal Protection Beneficiaries

Ways & Means Seeks Better Protections for Personal Protection Beneficiaries

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The options Subcommittee on Social safety held a hearing right now to examine just how specific lending that is payday other standard bank techniques may damage susceptible Social safety beneficiaries, and can even undermine the intent associated with personal safety Act. Representative Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), a senior person in the Subcommittee, presided within the hearing and delivered the opening statement that is following

“Today’s hearing will examine exactly exactly how banking that is certain financial obligation collection and lending practices affect Social Security and Supplemental Security money (SSI) advantage payments, and might undermine conditions for the personal safety Act designed to protect beneficiaries’ basic income. Our company is worried why these techniques have the prospective to damage beneficiaries that are vulnerable.

“The personal protection Act contains unique conditions to protect personal protection and SSI advantages of creditors, to be able to make sure funds are offered for fundamental requirements such as for instance meals, clothes and shelter. Area 207 associated with the Social safety Act generally protects advantages of garnishment, project, along with other appropriate procedures associated to your assortment of financial obligation.

“However, a quantity of economic methods have actually started to light which undermine these defenses

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These methods include freezes on beneficiary bank records, garnishment, high-fee direct deposit plans, and payday financing to un-banked SSA beneficiaries. The hearing just isn’t designed to foster debate on the general benefits or drawbacks of payday or “advance payment” loans. Rather, our company is trying to discover ways to better protect Social safety beneficiaries from being steered into high-cost direct deposit plans by check-cashing and short-term loan operations.

“This is actually crucial considering that the normal Social Security month-to-month advantage is $990, as well as for SSI it really is $477. While the testimony today will show, charges to gain access to these benefits from check-cashing stores can truly add {just as much as as just as much as three % associated with the total benefits, which can be bigger than the 2.3 cost-of-living that is percent simply supplied. Bank charges linked to bank freezes can achieve $175, and bounced-check that is additional can achieve $40. Once we consider that Social protection provides over fifty percent of monthly income for 54percent of senior partners and 74% of non-married seniors, and is the income that is only 29% of non-married seniors, these costs represent an important percentage of funds meant to give fundamental requirements.

“There is basic opinion among the relevant federal agencies and customer protection advocates why these methods provide a challenge that should be addressed. The real question is, exactly how quickly will we work? It would appear that the federal agencies in charge of protecting beneficiaries have already been on a lengthy, sluggish road to nowhere.

“The witnesses on our very very first panel will talk about the problems developed by banking account freezes, while the effectation of short-term “payday loans” and high-fee direct deposit reports on beneficiaries.

“I’ll note that Chairman McNulty is certainly focused on making certain beneficiaries retain ultimate control over the way they get their advantages, and how they normally use them. We additionally have always been worried that susceptible seniors can be losing control that is such they have been steered into high-fee direct deposit plans by some payday loan providers or check-cashing shops. Our very first panel can give us a much better sense of the magnitude of the dilemmas, also recommend some techniques to deal with them.

“Our second panel consist of three federal agencies which can be working together on a number of initiatives that might help deal with these issues.

“One such effort could be the Department associated with the Treasury’s recent roll-out of this “Direct Express Debit Card,” a low-fee debit card by which people can voluntarily prefer to get their advantages. A beneficiary who does not have a bank account could avoid the fees charged by check-cashing operators, maintain control over all of their benefits, and utilize a quicker and more secure payment mechanism than a paper check with this card.

“an additional good development, SSA is reexamining its direct deposit policy in light for the issues about abusive and predatory monetary techniques.

“Finally, i am aware that the proposition that could help enforce the personal Security Act’s prohibition on garnishment of advantages is forthcoming from SSA, Treasury as well as the bank regulating agencies. We applaud the agencies to take this effort. Prompt action about this matter is important, as requiring seniors and individuals with disabilities to navigate through complex appropriate networks so that you can enforce law that is federal unsatisfactory.

“I look ahead to hearing the testimony also to learning exactly how we may swiftly make the next steps to better beneficiaries that are protect. We owe it to the many susceptible residents to ensure the longstanding defenses within the personal safety Act aren’t being undermined by today’s monetary techniques.”