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How Can I Get My Navient Private Student Loans Forgiven Because I’m Disabled?

Written by Steve Rhode


Dear Steve,

I took out a student loan in 2006 with my father as the cosigner for a one year nursing program (LPN). I worked for the next few years after getting my license in 2008. Navient is the loan servicer. In 2013, after years of struggling with health issues, I became legally totally and permanently disabled. I live on social security disability, about $900 a month. My father, the cosigner, is now retired and lives out of the country. The loan payment is almost $300.

My question is, since I am legally disabled, is there a way to get the loan discharged. I have heard it is possible but very difficult, dealing with private companies such as Navient. How would I proceed? Is this a real possibility? Thank you so much.



Dear Emily,

If these were federal student loans the answer would be simple and the solution would end the loans. But for federal student loans the issue your father “cosigned” may mean he took out a PLUS loan for your education. In that case it’s not your loan and your disability would have no impact. According to the Department of Education, “Parents with PLUS loans may apply for discharge based on their own disabilities, not those of their children.”

But from your question I’m not entirely certain these are federal or private student loans, Navient services both just to make it utterly confusing.

If these are private student loans you’d have to go to Navient and see if they magically manufactured a disability solution. They used to offer a deferment option but that just delays the situation and makes the situation worse.

I suppose if there is any good news if these were private student loans it would be if you defaulted on your student loans the chances of Navient chasing your father outside the country for repayment are slim. And if you have no other income or assets besides your disability income that is most likely protected from a judgment.

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Don’t get me wrong, they may eventually sue you for non-payment and you would lose but your income as a public benefit is most likely protected. If they did sue you it would be an excellent opportunity to talk to the attorney about a negotiated solution.

Before you embark on a path of defaulting, if this is a private student loan, I would suggest you talk to an attorney who is licensed in your state to discuss how this would unfold. You may even be eligible for free legal assistance from a local legal aid clinic.

If you have any more questions or information, just post it in the comments below and I’ll be happy to answer.


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About the author

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.


  • Dear Steve,
    Thank you very much for the info! I will try contacting Legal Aid in my state (CA). The Navient loan was not a federal or PLUS loan, it was private. Unfortunately the school was new and it was the only “financial aid” available. I required a co signer as I didn’t have good enough credit or much credit experience. While my father is out if the country he still Has a pension coming from the us and social security, I don’t know if the pension would be affected by Defaulting.
    Lastly because my credit has improved I have gotten offers to refinance for a lower payment for the loan, but I’m wary of these.I’m not sure what implications that could have. Before I consider defaulting, as you suggested I will try talking to Navient, then consult a legal aid clinic. It was a $24000 private student loan and has been serviced by Navient the whole time. (They were Sallie Mae then, but as you know, same company!) there is $16000 left. Mu gamily has helped with the payments but financially just cant anymore and there is tremendous pressure to get the loan discharged. I requested a forbearance in the past, and it was granted, but it was very temporary and only added to the interest.
    Thank you so much for your advice! It is very much appreciated.Gratefully, Emily

    • Any time you break the terms of an agreement, anything legal is possible so it is hard to make any 100% guaranteed statements about what will absolutely happen or not happen.

      You fall into that bucket of people who have options but most are unaffordable or out of reach. The private student loans were and are always a trap.

      There is a good argument your obligation for the loan could be forgiven through bankruptcy. Your attorney would have to file a separate legal case and make the argument the loan is an undue hardship. The cost of pursuing this is expensive and would not let your father off the hook.

      It is possible to settle the private loan for less than is owed. See

      What was the name of the school?

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