Suing Betsy DeVos to Stop Illegal Wage Garnishments

Barber v. DeVos

On April 30, Elizabeth Barber, a home health aide who continues to care for patients with disabilities throughout the COVID19 pandemic, sued Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for unlawfully garnishing her wages in violation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act). This lawsuit, supported by the SBPC and filed by Student Defense and National Consumer Law Center, seeks to end unlawful wage garnishment by Secretary DeVos and the Trump Administration for Ms. Barber and hundreds of thousands of other borrowers in her situation, and to return the money illegally seized from these borrowers’ paychecks. 

On March 27th, Congress required the U.S. Department of Education to halt “all involuntary collections” against eligible borrowers, including wage garnishment. More than a month after President Trump signed the CARES Act into law, Secretary DeVos has failed to follow the law, leaving hundreds of thousands of borrowers just like Ms. Barber subject to wage garnishment. 

This lawsuit is part of an ongoing effort by the SBPC to fight on behalf of borrowers who have been denied the protections guaranteed under the CARES Act. For more than a month, the SBPC has heard from borrowers subject to illegal wage garnishment and called on Secretary DeVos to take immediate action to follow the law. 

This case was filed in federal district court for the District of Columbia and asks the court to halt unlawful garnishments for all affected student loan borrowers and to return all wages unlawfully seized by Secretary DeVos and the Trump Administration.

The complaint is available here: https://protectborrowers.org/devos-wage-garnishment-complaint