LOCKHART v. UNITED STATES

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
04-881
Petitioner 
James Lockhart
Respondent 
United States, et al.
Advocates
(argued the cause for Respondents)
(argued the cause for Petitioner)
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Facts of the Case 

In 2002 the U.S. began withholding a portion of Lockhart's Social Security payments to offset his debt on federally reinsured student loans that were more than 10 years overdue. Lockhart sued, arguing the offset was barred by the 10-year statute of limitations of the Debt Collection Act (1982). The district court dismissed Lockhart's suit, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed.

Question 

Could the United States offset Social Security benefits to collect a student loan debt that had been outstanding for over 10 years?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for United States, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: 31 U.S.C. 3716

Yes. In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the Court held that the Debt Collection Improvement Act made Social Security benefits subject to offset and that the Higher Education Technical Amendments removed the 10-year limit that would otherwise bar the offset.

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LOCKHART v. UNITED STATES. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 12 December 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2005/2005_04_881>.
LOCKHART v. UNITED STATES, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2005/2005_04_881 (last visited December 12, 2014).
"LOCKHART v. UNITED STATES," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed December 12, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2005/2005_04_881.