How Can I Keep My Federal Student Loans Out of Default When I Can Barely Afford to Live?


Dear Steve,

I have defaulted on a direct federal consolidation loan. I was a teacher but had an on the job accident and I am no longer able to stand to teach. Luckily, I was a career change person and have been able to find a job in another industry (not public service related) I owe 112,000 in student loans and was planning to do the pay for 10 years as a teacher and have remaining balance forgiven.

How do I get out of default when I can barely afford to living expenses? Please give me options.



Dear Dayna,

So sorry to hear about your medical issues.

If you were on a Direct Consolidation Loan you should ask your servicer to place you in one of the Income Driven Repayment programs. This will keep you out of default and give you a payment as low as $0 per month.

For more information click here.


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Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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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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3 thoughts on “How Can I Keep My Federal Student Loans Out of Default When I Can Barely Afford to Live?”

  1. The difficult thing with IBR, is they do not take into consideration your mortgage/rent payment or other loans payments. So, even though you have no extra income to pay student loans, because of cost of living and other debt, they will come up with a 10-15% of you income number that is not possible to pay.

    • I completely agree it is not a perfect solution and it is restrictive. But if you want to see a really ridiculous standard, then look no further than what the IRS permits as allowable expenses when they calculate forced payments.


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