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Will My Garnished Payments Count Towards My Public Service Loan Forgiveness?

By on January 12, 2017

Question:

Dear Steve,

I was garnished for almost 3 years, which means I already paid approximately $15k towards my student loans. I was recently approved for PSLF forgiveness, will the garnishment payments count towards the 120 monthly payments now required?

Jackie

Answer:

Dear Jackie,

No.

As the Department of Education says:

A qualifying monthly payment that is counted towards Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is a payment that you make

  • after October 1, 2007;
  • under a qualifying repayment plan;
  • for the full amount due as shown on your bill;
  • no later than 15 days after your due date; and
  • while you are employed full-time by a qualifying employer.

You can make qualifying monthly payments only during periods when you are required to make a payment. Therefore, you cannot make a qualifying monthly payment while your loans are in

  • an in-school status,
  • the grace period,
  • a deferment,
  • a forbearance, or
  • default.

Your 120 qualifying monthly payments do not need to be consecutive. – Source

Your statement that you were “approved” for Public Service Loan Forgiveness is a bit worrisome. At present the only kind of “approval” you can get is when you complete the Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness form and hear back. But even that can’t be relied on. See Lawsuit by American Bar Association Demonstrates Mess to Come with Public Service Loan Forgiveness for Student Loans.

The only real approval you can receive is when your loans are eventually forgiven. However you won’t know that until you make the 120 payments and apply for actual forgiveness and it is approved. Forgiveness is NOT automatic. After you make your 120th qualifying monthly payment, you will need to submit the PSLF application to receive loan forgiveness. The application is under development and will be available prior to October 2017.

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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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