I’ve Never Made a Student Loan Payment and Not Sure What to Do?

Question:

Dear Steve,

I took out student loans 10+ years ago and have never made a payment on them. I’m unsure at this point which the loans were even with initially. I have not had a job since, so nothing had been taken from anything to repay at any point.

I just signed up at Federal student aid to see if I can figure out of my loans are federal or private. I’m currently waiting on social security to validate so I can access it. (Adding that I’m married and not on any of his accounts)

Is it possible to start having a job and live a normal life? How can I find concrete information about my situation? Most things I read do not relate to me, as my situation is unique in that I have never made one payment and have never had a job to create a garnishment.

I don’t know when or if I will join the workforce; however, I want the option in the future IF I can complete a loophole for student loan debt.

I feel like I am limited in so many ways as I search for answers several times a year. Thank you in advance for any advice.

Megan

Answer:

Dear Megan,

I think I can give you some concrete answers to help you on your journey.

You did the right thing to get access to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). All loans reported under you will be federal loans in that system. They do not report any private loans.

If you do have federal student loans, it would be smart to at the very least get those properly consolidated into one new Direct Loan and pick the correct Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plan to keep those current. There are tricks to picking a program that won’t count your husband’s income in determining your payment. Since you are not working, your payment can be as low as zero dollars a month.

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I would strongly suggest you have a telephone consultation with my Debt Coach friend Damon Day to help walk you through the nuances of picking the right repayment program that is best for your unique situation.

Just know that an IDR is the best of the possible solutions, but it is not perfect. Read this.

If you have student loans that do not appear on NSLDS, then they are private loans. Here is where it gets interesting. Depending on what state you live in, those private loans might be outside the Statute of Limitations (SOL), and you could raise that as an argument if you were sued. Additionally, if they are outside the SOL, you could include them in consumer bankruptcy and have them discharged.

Here is the most important point for the private loans. In your situation, you should absolutely speak to an attorney licensed in your state to get a legal opinion if the loans are outside the SOL. If a collector calls on those loans, you should not acknowledge you owe that debt. You should absolutely not put that in writing and sign it. There is no substitute for good legal advice on your private student loans since dealing with them is a technical issue.

To find the right attorney, I would suggest you talk to a bankruptcy attorney, generally for free, to discuss your private student loans. Alternatively, you could try and talk with a licensed attorney in your state that deals with student loans or debt collection.

Please come back and post an update in the comments, so I know what you have found out about your loans.

Sincerly,
Steve

You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.


Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

4 thoughts on “I’ve Never Made a Student Loan Payment and Not Sure What to Do?”

      • Thanks for the feedback! I found out that my loans are under 15k in direct loans and over 31k in FFELP Stafford loans. These all show up from that website, however, is it correct that FFELP loans are guaranteed by the government, but actually privately owned? That’s what I’m gathering, but I’m not versed in this and unsure how to proceed. My husband isn’t on my loans, however, we were married at the time I took them out. He files injured spouse on our taxes so that he isn’t affected, but I definitely would like to get this off anyway I can. In the event of my husband dying, I would have to get a job ….and so I think it’s an important thing to figure out, just incase of the worst. I wouldn’t be able to support our five children with student loan debt in payment.

        Reply
        • FFEL loans were a horrible hybrid that I think stopped in 2010. They are actually private loans guaranteed by the government. This recent post talks more about the craziness of them. https://getoutofdebt.org/161038/why-cant-i-get-out-of-this-trap-of-my-federal-family-education-loan

          To reshuffle, those FFEL loans into a direct loan that would be eligible for things like Income-Driven Repayment programs you would first have to put them into an FFEL Consolidation Loan and then that could be moved into a Direct Loan.

          My advice would be to pursue that route since things are not going to get better with FFEL options the more that time passes. Just ask the poor people trapped in Spousal Consolidation Loans that are trapped with no out.

          Since these would all fall under federal student loan enforcement I would think dealing with them rather than not would be the better option. Otherwise, you would face potential tax refund intercepts and garnishment of Social Security in the future.

          The place to start with consolidating the FFEL loans into an FFEL consolidation would be your servicer. However, since you’ve never made a payment on these they might need some extra steps to be eligible. For example, they may have to be rehabilitated first. You only get one shot at rehabilitation in your life.

          I see I mentioned Damon Day in my answer to you. He can handhold you through the process if you need an expert guide. Otherwise, you will need to trust in the guidance the servicer gives you when you contact them for assistance.

          Reply

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