Your government cares about you, well, sort of.
If you owe money on federal student loans you may be able to stop paying the loans and have the privilege of being charged additional interest if you live in an area hit with a horrible natural disaster.
The Department of Education says they check “the Federal Emergency Management Agency website at least once each business day to identify all impacted areas connected to the disaster declaration.” That just means they visit this page.
So what you will be eligible for is a 90-day payment holiday during which interest will continue to be added to your account.
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You will need to contact your loan servicer and cross your fingers they get your request processed correctly. Be sure they have processed your request before you stop making payments out of the jon boat after your home washes away. Otherwise, you will be in default where your payment doesn’t arrive.
Every benefit seems to come with complex rules and this “we care about you” benefit is no different. See this.
The payment holiday is only for people who owe federal student loans. If you owe a private student loan you should contact that loan servicer but don’t hold your breath.
The Department of Education exact advice says:
“If you are a borrower in repayment who was affected by a natural disaster in the area where you live or work, you qualify for forbearance of loan repayment for a period of up to 90 days upon your request to your servicer. During forbearance, payments are temporarily postponed or reduced. Your servicer will document your loan account with the reason and the length of the forbearance.
Please note that interest still accrues (accumulates) during the forbearance period, but the accrued interest will not be capitalized (added to the principal loan balance) when the forbearance ends. You should contact your loan servicer to request this forbearance.
Once the initial forbearance period related to the disaster is over, you may request additional forbearance time for reasonable cause. Your servicer is permitted to grant additional forbearance time, in 30-day increments, but your total period of forbearance cannot exceed a maximum of 12 monthly billing cycles from the date of the disaster.” – Source
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