Up until 1996, social security checks were entirely protected from any kind of garnishment. Then, Congress carved out an exception for student loan debt. With 706,000 homes headed by a senior citizen, aged 65 or over, that is still carrying student loan debt (and a whopping $18.1 billion in total), it’s worth keeping in mind that if you fall behind on those payments, your social security check is not immune. Aside from the best advice — keep up on your payments — it may also be worth reaching out to your representatives. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) is leading up an effort to review the current rules.