COVID Student Loan Forbearance
Jan. 28, 2022
If you’re like the nearly 43 million people in the United States who currently hold student debt, you know how stressful it can be to keep up on monthly payments that seem to have no end in sight. The cost of higher education continues to increase, and even if you do land a good job after graduation, you’re likely to be saddled with debt for years to come. In Georgia, the outlook is even more distressing. Our state has the third-highest average student debt in the country at $41,843.
If you’re struggling under the weight of student debt— due to the COVID-19 crisis—you need to know about current debt relief measures that can help. I’ve been committed to educating the people of Georgia for over 25 years on their debt options and recognize that student debt is a major problem that needs to be addressed. If you’re concerned about your debt and are in Savannah or Hinesville, Georgia, call me today to discuss your options. I serve clients also in Statesboro, Richmond Hill, and Ludowici, Georgia. I’m John E. Pytte, Your Georgia Debt Relief Specialist.
Student Loans: COVID-19 Emergency Relief Measures
Because the global pandemic has caused so many people to lose their jobs or to see reductions in their income, the federal government has issued relief programs with one of the biggest being COVID forbearance. Under this program, borrowers will see their student loan payments go into forbearance (meaning you won’t have to make payments toward it). The current payment suspension period lasts until May 1, 2022, and during this time, borrowers will accumulate 0% in interest. Additionally, most collections on student loans that have gone into default have also stopped during this time.
How is Income-Driven Repayment Affected?
If you’re currently on an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan, your payments will be paused, and you’ll receive a waiver on all interest. When the forbearance period is over, your payments will restart at the same level as when the pause began. However, if you’ve experienced a change in your finances, you can recertify to bring your monthly payment down to a manageable level. You also have the option to self-report income if you only have Direct loans, though you can only do this until July 31, 2022.
If you’re receiving total and permanent disability (TPD) discharge, you will also receive extra relief. Typically, those on disability discharge have to recertify their income, but during this relief period you won’t have to. Furthermore, recent legislation has made it easier for those seeking TPD discharge to have their disability certified. People currently receiving Social Security disability payments will have shorter disability review periods.
When the forbearance period ends on May 1, 2022, repayment will begin again, and you will need to be ready. For many of us, our personal and financial lives have been flipped upside down these last two years, and it is crucial to prepare for life after COVID. First, you should log on to your account and ensure your contact and auto-pay information are current. Then, you’ll have to consider your ability to repay your loans. This is a great time to consolidate your loans or sign up for an IDR plan so you can start repaying your loan with manageable monthly payments.
How Legal Counsel Can Help
Most of you will be able to navigate your way through this challenging time, and you’ll find a repayment plan that fits in with your budget. However, if you’re still concerned about your ability to pay or have great concerns about your debt, call me today at Pytte Law for a free consultation. I have offices in Savannah, Georgia, and Hinesville, Georgia, but can help those throughout the state, including Statesboro, Richmond Hill, Ludowici, Chatham, Liberty, Bryan, Effingham, and Long County.