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The Borrower Never Made a Single Payment on a Navient Private Student Loan and I’m Stuck With It as the Co-Signer

Question:

Dear Steve,

I am a co-signer on a Navient Private Student Loan. When this loan was originated, I was working a full-time job. I am 63 years old and I am presently receiving social security benefits (1,400.00) per month.

I was making the monthly payment toward this loan of $500.00 per month for years. Since the coronavirus pandemic, I was able to defer 3 months’ payments. In June I have to call Navient back and begin making payments in July. I am not able to continue to make payments because I won’t be able to pay my rent and the co-signer has NEVER paid one cent toward this loan since it was implemented. I didn’t want my credit to be ruined so I made the payments and suffered; now I CAN”T pay them and I don’t know what to do!

As a senior, receiving only social security benefits, what can I do? What are my options? The primary signer is nowhere to be found. Can you advise me?

Jewell

Answer:

Dear Jewell,

Well, that is certainly a terrible situation with the borrower.

There are three important issues here. The first is as a cosigner you agreed to accept full responsibility for the loan. That’s why lenders love to rope cosigners in.

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The second issue is since you are a cosigner, the loan can be reported on your credit report. It will also be reported on the primary borrowers.

Finally, your ability to pay or not pay is a math problem. It sounds like payment is just impossible moving forward. While that can negatively impact your credit report it just is what it is.

Since you are receiving Social Security benefits and they sound like your only income at this point, you might want to look at the nonprofit law firm HELPS. They can run interference with Navient and provide you with support over this debt you will have to default on.

HELPS offers very low-cost representation and can be there by your side as you deal with this issue. The bigger tragedy here would be for you to continue to make payments when you actually need to focus on you being safe.

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Keeping a roof over your head, eating, and staying safe is much more important than making payments on this debt or worrying about what defaulting will do to your credit report.

As a bonus, the primary borrower will also feel the pain when Navient starts reporting the loan is in default on their credit report. Maybe that might wake them up to take some responsibility.


Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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