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What happens if you cannot pay back your student loans?

I'm disabled and returning to school, but I am afraid to take out any student loans. eventhough I could really use them, because I don't know if my health will hold out long enough for me to get my degree or for me to work long enough to pay them off.

I'm on SSD, and there is not enough money to pay my bills now. I have no family to help me. I know that you cannot default on a student loan, but what happens if I can't finish school due to health problems or work long enough to pay them off? Will I still be responsible for them? Does anyone know where I can go to find any answers?

Susan from OK

Recent Answers

By Terri W.12/11/2012

If you are on SSI no one can touch your check. Plus file for it to be paid off through Disability issues. I had to do that. Now I don't think they can touch Milatary Disability. I dont know about any other pensions. But you can call any Social Security office and find out more info. or go online and look. Hope this helps...Good luck!

By john.03martin09/10/2012

There are hardship forgiveness for health and very low income situations. You will have to pay a low good faith payment mine was 20.00 dollars a month until approved work with dept.of education not the collection agency.

By Alan06/09/2009

Come to Studentloanjustice.Org. We're banding together to get standard consumer protections restored for student loans.

Help us. If you don't, you are hurting yourself.

By Stephen Branney04/20/2009

In Scotland you get your tuition free if you are from Scotland plus you can get up to £20,000 in student loans with the smallest loan interest rate available anywhere. Plus you get it written off when you reach 65 years old. So if you wish you can just pay the absolute minimum per month and not worry one bit. If you lose your job or dont earn more than £15,000 in a year you don't pay a penny until you are back on your feet.

By collegestudent (Guest Post)02/06/2009

You should check with your local ssi office and find out if they have a program that pays for school for you. Here in Ny they have a program called VESID, I'm not sure if this is a state or federal program. They pay for your college if you are disabled. If you have a loan in default you can consolidate the loan to take them out of default. I'm fighting the battle with being disabled and trying to pay my student loans also. It's hard as heck when you have 15 million other bills behind because it takes so long to get approved for disability and by the time you get a check you're already months behind in payments.

By JJW. (Guest Post)01/17/2009

There are hardship forgiveness for health and very low income situations. You will have to pay a low good faith payment mine was 20.00 dollars a month until approved work with dept.of education not the collection agency. The most the government will take is 15% of a monthly social security check SSI can' be garnished.

By Karol (Guest Post)12/29/2008

I am an unemployed Realtor. I have no income to pay. I just turned 62, and have been unable to get work for some time. I got a student loan in the 90's when I had a heart attack in my senior year, working my way through college full time at 49.
Heart Doctor said I could work or go to school but not both, must decide.
I got my first student loan. (Mistake-have never been able to finish my last class, and am now in debt to the tune of $60,000, they say.)
(Yes-it's a nightmare)

I worked and paid on my loan for 5 years, meeting the payment schedule they set up for me. I was told at the end of 5 years my debt was not diminished. They stated they had set up a repayment schedule for me in such a manner that the principle would never be touched.
Only the interest would be paid on.

(They did not tell me this when setting up the repayment schedule)
I am now old, weary, and in a sleeping room. I drive a friends old car, have not been able to make payments on most bills regularly. I have no family.

My first hope for some time is I will get my first retirement check (Social Security check) in a few weeks. ($693 a month). But the Student Loan people are calling me and threatening, demanding immediate payment for the student loan which is compounding, now triple the original amount, after years of paying.

I explained I have no money. They replied the Justice Department is preparing to sue me in court civil law suit and I will be charged $7,000 dollars in late fees and must pay court costs. I HAVE NO MONEY, TO PAY ANY THING, until I get my first Social Security check, which will be my first income in ages.

My landlady, car friend and bill collectors are all waiting for my check.
Student loan people state I must call them Friday with all my bills and income (Not hard-zero, at this point-the bills will take longer)
What will happen to me? Can they put me in jail for this student loan? Will they take my little social security check?

By Jim07/09/2008

I'm 61 and owe $158,000 in student loans. I took out the loans for my daughter who went to a wilderness program. I'll never live long enought to pay them back. Should I wait until I become disabled in order to ask for "forgiveness"?

By jpowell (Guest Post)06/14/2008

What about when you have 650,000.00 dollars worth of loans what do you do?

By just out of luck (Guest Post)06/06/2008

They will even take your "stimulus check" so much for stimulating the economy! We really need the money too. My student loans are 22 years old now and I feel I shouldn't have to pay them. They should go after the school that supposedly gave me an "education".

After graduating with two diplomas, I was so proud. I applied for a job in an accounting department and there were things on their test I had never even heard of.

I then went to the employment office and the guy behind the desk just laughed at me and said: good luck finding a good job after going to "that" school. I was devastated. I've written the government about this stating that I shouldn't have to pay, but they have no heart.

I worked hard for those diplomas, only to find out that they're worthless and all my work was for nothing. I was crushed, mentally and emotionally. I had no self esteem after this. So I think it's totally unfair of them to expect me to pay for an education I didn't get. As I stated before, they should be going after the school, not me.

By Kliz (Guest Post)05/07/2008

Your income tax refund will be kept until the debt is paid.

By Lillie M. Jefferson (Guest Post)02/27/2008

Is their any help for me I don't like owing people and when they call day and bight harassing me I can not sleep it makes me depressed. Fed student loan officer call day and night none stop they block their number and study making threats.

By big dog (Guest Post)12/30/2007

If you are disabled and can not work, you may ask for loan forgiveness. If you can have a doctor say you are unable to work and will probably never be able to work.

By vinay01/16/2007

its a tough question to give my feedback but i think bank had made some law of name as guarantor n on that basis only they r sanctioning the loan..also if there is any accident in between the study bank never take their loan back from them....

By (Guest Post)05/14/2006

I don't know where u got the idea that you CAN'T DEFAULT ON STUDENT LOANS, but you most certainly CAN! I should know, I unfortunately defaulted recently! Please be aware of this! Also, I want to point out in the worst case senario of your health deteriorating to the point of no longer being abled to attend school or work, that is the ONLY time a student loan can be considered for bankruptcy. So, although bankruptcy is not a necessarily a positive outcome, it will be an option if your health unfortuantely reaches that point. For more answers, u may want to post some questions on http://www.freeadvice.com . This is a free legal advice forum where I have posted questions about default and bankcruptcy before. GOOD LUCK!!

By susan [5]01/25/2006

Thanks for all your responses. I am disabled and living on SSD. The government now requests that anyone who is disabled return school to be retrained, which I am fine with. Re-hab is paying my tuition, but not much else (cutbacks). It is nearly impossible to pay for gas (I drive 1.5 hours each way to get to the college), food, utilities, medical bills, etc. The Pell helps, but money is SO tight. My disabilities (I have several) will never get any better, and will continue to get much worse. To date, I have not taken any school loans out, since if I cannot finish school, I will have no way to repay them. I am unsure if I will be able to finish without financial help.

I have just found out, that if you start school and later get disabled, your school loans can be forgiven. However, if you are disabled when you start school, and cannot finish, you are responsible for them. It seems ironic.

By America (Guest Post)01/24/2006

I think the US government is a parasite. It feeds off the young. Other countries provide affordable education and even free medical care. But in the US many people have to take out a loan when they are in there early twenties for education...choices that will impact there lives for many years. Especially since we live to be in our 80's or more. You have to choice the right career. Or you may not find a job even after college. Then you have loan problems. They will help you find a plan that works. No matter what plan it is, it is slavery to the system. If you do not play by the rules, you can not play the game. No job, no money, no quality of life. I do not care if they make it easy or defer your payments you are SOLD. A slave to the system. How is an adult that has been working in business for years can file for bankruptcy. Be forgiven. Start fresh. But a young person, just trying to get an education is held to that debt for life. It is a way to keep people down. The American dream is a joke. Yes, there are people that do it!! But the majority of the people never really move out of the same soc./econ. group. Double standards.

By Susan Holmes11/29/2005

Contact lenders in your area-Because if you default they can take part of your SSD benefit check to pay for the defaulted loans. Also you should have a financial adie omsbudsman who can answer still your questions and even negioate a payment you can afford-DO NOT DEFAULT!! YOU WILL STILL HAVE TO PAY YOUR LOANS ONE WAY OT THE OTHER! It took me 4+ years to straighten out my student loans and I just wish I had not avoided it for so long. I was in the same position and my loan amount was almost 40,000.00 :0 I have rehabilitated all of my loans through the ombudsman and have a payment I can afford and a GREAT credit rating now, which when I was in default was down the toilet. Hang on and find help-Email me anytime I would be glad to share what I know-Take care!

By darrellg in oklahoma (Guest Post)11/21/2005

Try checking into the rehab program in oklahoma city. I went to school under voc-rehab they paid for my tuition,books, equipment, and any tests that I had to pay for as well as license. They also paid my mileage to & from school. It's a great program. They also have an office in most larger cities in Ok. look in gov pages in the phone book. Good Luck

By Susan Sanders-Kinzel [9]11/20/2005

The U.S. Congress just passed the budget that will cut student aid and raise interest rates on student loans. All of my kids are paying on student loans and a friend of mine paid for 15 years for her master's degree. It can take a very long time to pay them back, especially if you are unable to find a good job after you get your degree.

Education is expensive but luckily for the last few years, the interest rates for loans have been low. You can get forebearances, the interest accrues but you don't have to make payments. It is much better if you know you are having financial problems to apply for one immediately rather than get a bad credit record on your loan.

Do what you can to not borrow any more if you are worried and write your representative about your problems. Maybe they will give those who can't afford to pay back student loans because of medical reasons a break.

Besides grants some schools offer hardship scholarships. Do all you can to pay as you go with grants, scholarships and working.

Susan from ThriftyFun

By Lisa Kless [22]11/20/2005

I have thousands of dollars in student loan debt (but have my degree to show for it, so I suppose it evens out!), and right now things are pretty tight financially. I was just approved for an economic hardship deferrment though, so I have a year long "grace period" on my repayment. I can make any type of payment I can afford right now. My lender was incredibly helpful with the whole process, and there were many different options to choose from that fit all different situations. So if worse came to worse, one of those alternatives might be a temporary solution if you find yourself unable to repay for a short time. I do agree with the other feedback comment though; check out grants or other means first. Don't take on a lot of loan debt if you have serious doubts that you'll be able to repay it. I've heard that defaulting on a student loan is TERRIBLE for your credit...Best of luck to you! Hope you're able to pursue those higher education dreams!

By SNIGDIBBLY (Guest Post)11/20/2005

YES, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYING BACK STUDENT LOANS. I HAVE A FRIEND WHO IS ON SSDI AND THEY ARE TAKING OUT HER STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS FROM HER CHECK EACH MONTH. YOU SHOULD ALSO KNOW THAT YOU CAN NOT INCLUDE STUDENT LOANS IN A BANKRUPTCY. HAVE YOU CONTACTED YOUR LOCAL VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION OFFICE FOR EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE? THEY WILL PAY YOUR TUITION AND BOOKS AND THAT WILL LEAVE YOUR PELL GRANT FREE TO COVER TRANSPORTATION AND LIVING EXPENSES WHILE YOU PURSUE YOUR EDUCATIONAL GOALS. YOU MAY ALSO QUALIFY FOR OTHER SCHOLARSHIPS AND GRANTS THAT YOU DON'T HAVE TO REPAY. MEET WITH YOUR SCHOOL COUNSELOR AND THEY SHOULD BE ABLE TO DIRECT YOU TO OTHER RESOURCES.

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