I’m Disabled with Severe Depression and Anxiety but Navient Won’t Forgive My Private Student Loan


Dear Steve,

In addition to gov’t school loans, I received a private loan through Chase bank in 2005. It was sold to another company at some point then finally sold to Navient… of course, I had no say in this. I paid the minimum payment for a decade. Which in essence almost paid it off. But due to the interest, I still owe over 15k of a 16k loan. I became ill a few years back. My regular loans were put in forbearance/deferment but Navient would not do so. Hence I made the minimal payment for years.

My condition deteriorated to where I am now fully disabled. My gov’t school loans were all forgiven in 2005 due to this. I was forced to file bankruptcy last year because of illness. A Navient private loan could not be included.

Does Navient actually do disability loan forgiveness on private loans or is that misleading? I filled out Navient’s disability discharge paperwork, complete with my doctors signature and details of my chronic illness. They wrote back saying I was not eligible for discharge but might be able to give me a payment plan.

I cannot work. I cannot even be upright for an extended period. I have cancer, fibromyalgia and severe depression and anxiety along with other life-altering conditions. I have 0 income and have been forced to live with my daughter temporarily for care. There is no way this loan will be paid. If my conditions don’t qualify what exactly would? As I stated I have paid almost the amount back I borrowed via minimum payments but due to the interest I still owe virtually the full amount after 10 years of payment. How is this even legal… I’m incredibly ill… trying to deal with this company. I don’t know what to do.



Dear Nancy,

Unlike a federal student loan, not all private loans are eligible for disability forgiveness. I’ve seen a lot of private loans that the best they will offer is a temporary reduction of payments.

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Navient does say they offer a limited disability forgiveness program but it sounds like you already applied for that option with them.

Unless they gave you a reason that is something you can correct, you may be stuck. Kind of.

While what I’m about to suggest is not a magical solution, it is a logical one.

In the absence of income and living on little to no income or retirement benefits, you may come to the realization you may have to just default on the loan and stop paying it. It sure sounds like you just can’t afford it.

But before you just default I think you should contact the non-profit law firm HELPS. They can assist you with low-cost advice and help deal with Navient collectors if they start calling.

HELPS specializes in providing compassionate care for seniors and people with disabilities.

Here is the bottom line, you can’t afford the private student loan anymore so we need to develop and put in place a way to deal with the debt. The approach I suggested may not be perfect but it will give you a solution for an impossible situation.


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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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5 thoughts on “I’m Disabled with Severe Depression and Anxiety but Navient Won’t Forgive My Private Student Loan”

  1. Agreed. I was expecting to rebuild my credit but I assumed with a defaulted loan on my record that would prevent me from improving it. Due to my severe anxiety I realized my thoughts are NOT based in reality a great deal of the time. Thank you for that last statement about hope and that article. I’m exhausted from letting outside things determine my happiness. I need to readjust my priorities. Ü

  2. Thank you Steve for the great response and information. I will check out the link you gave me. I’ve always tried to be honest and pay my debts. I had wonderful credit up until the bankruptcy which was a very difficult to do mentally. Defaulting on this loan would be likewise hard and mean my credit would never be built back up. But I literally have no way to pay it so I have to do what I have to do. Companies like Navient this are very discouraging to deal with.

    • Actually, your credit can be improved fairly quickly. I get how bankruptcy was difficult to do. It was for me as well. But what we feel emotionally is not always factual or logical. Studies show that people who file bankruptcy rebound faster than those who don’t. See https://getoutofdebt.org/86125/those-that-file-bankruptcy-do-better-than-those-that-dont

      Defaulting with a plan in place is a much better strategy than limping along making token payments that will never pay the debt off or keep you out of default.

      I know this may feel hopeless, but the reality is some strategy is better than letting the situation bring you down and rob you of hope.


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