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DOE Threatens to Dock Man’s Social Security Check

The U.S. Department of Education is threatening once again to garnish an elderly man’s social security due to outstanding student loans.

Willie Chaney, 74, says he never graduated high school and the debt is bogus, according to Fox 5

For more than a year, the Atlanta resident has been trying to convince the Department he did not recently attend college in Arizona. The reduced income will put the senior citizen in a tough financial position. Chaney says he won’t be able to make rent or afford groceries if his earning are garnished.

Last year, the Department of Education docked his social security check over the outstanding loan. According to the government, Chaney took out a federal student loan to attend Rio Salado Community College in Tempe, Arizona.

Chaney says he has no idea where that even is.

“It’s a funny thing though, I’m supposed to be in college, but I don’t know what course I’m taking up.”

According to school records, Chaney allegedly took introduction to cinema and sociology. Chaney says he’s been trying for more than a year to tell the Department of Education that the address on the paperwork isn’t his. The names listed as grandparents aren’t his either.

He is 74 after all.

Since Chaney is struggling to prove he was a victim of identity theft, the loan remains his responsibility.

“Everything they send me I already done did. They want me to read this paper and, uh, check off this and that and get it notarized then I done did that so many times,” he said in frustration.

The latest letter to Chaney from the government, sent on June 26, came with the following warning: pay up or we will take money from your social security check.

“In order to qualify for identity theft discharge, you must submit a court decision made in your favor with a detailed description of how it relates to your student loan.”

Chaney says he has no idea what to do. For months, Fox 5 has written the school and the Department of Education about his situation. The federal government said it is “continuing to work on this case diligently.”

Although the retired truck driver says he can’t afford a lawyer, he’s not giving up.

“I ain’t gonna give up. No m’am. I might give out,” he said laughing.

While Chaney happens to have a sense of humor about this unfortunate situation, identity theft is no laughing matter.

Just last week, the U.S. Government announced that more than 21 million Americans were affected by a data breach.

Read the full story here.