Posted May 18, 202212:05 pm
By Josh Rovenger, Esq.
During COVID-19, the federal government has not required borrowers to pay on their federal student loans. This has helped nearly 45 million people with federal student loans. The government recently extended this pause until September 1, 2022, but borrowers should prepare to start paying again.
Borrowers should sign up for a payment plan. One group of plans is called “income-driven repayment plans.” An income-driven repayment plan allows a borrower to pay a monthly amount based on their income. For many people, the monthly payment can be $0.
Getting into the right plan is key because it helps prevent a “default.” A “default” occurs when someone does not pay their loan for over 270 straight days. If a borrower is in “default,” the government can take the person’s wages, tax refunds, or social security benefits to pay the student loans owed. A default can also hurt a borrower’s credit score. And, a borrower in default cannot take out new federal student loans to attend school.
Borrowers can get into an income-driven repayment plan in less than 10 minutes. They can talk to their “loan servicer” (the company that collects their payments) or apply on-line (studentaid.gov/app/ibrinstructions.action). During the application process, a borrower can ask
for the plan with the lowest monthly payment amount.
For more information on income driven repayment plans, visit lasclev.org/studentloans.
This article was published in Legal Aid's newsletter, "The Alert" Volume 38, Issue 1, in Spring 2022. See full issue at this link: “The Alert” – Volume 38, Issue 1 – Legal Aid Society of Cleveland (lasclev.org).