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.

Acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn Colvin suspended a debt collection program last spring in which thousands of people had 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 benefits they received decades ago as children.

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

There is a catch: The debts won’t go away. Eventually, when the debtors start receiving retirement benefits, Social Security can deduct the debts from their payments.

The collection program was authorized by a 2008 change in the law that allows Social Security and other federal agencies, through the Treasury Department, to seize federal payments to recoup debts that are more than 10 years old. Previously, there was a 10-year limit on using the program. In most cases, the seizures are tax refunds.

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