Social Security won't seize tax refunds to collect old debts

WASHINGTON -- People who owe old debts to the Social Security Administration are getting a reprieve this tax season: The federal government won't be seizing their tax refunds.

Social Security suspended a debt collection program last spring in which thousands of people had their tax refunds seized to recoup overpayments that happened more than a decade ago. Members of Congress complained that some people were being forced to repay overpayments they received as children.

Following a review, the agency said Monday it will continue suspending the program this tax season while officials explore possible changes.

Last spring, the agency said it had identified 400,000 people with old debts totaling $714 million. On Monday, the agency said 300,000 people still have old debts.
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