Who Can I Talk to About Student Loan Repayment Issues?


Dear Steve,

I took a federal student loan for grad school in 1975. My Social Security now is garnisheed. Since 1993 loan collection has taken $35,000 from me, and not one cent has been applied to the loan amount only to interest.

Is it legal not to put payments on to loan principal?

Do you know of a lawyer who has special knowledge regarding student loan repayment issues?



Dear Crystal,

It seems to me that your federal student loan issue has been a long time in the making.

Social Security can be garnished for delinquent federal student loan payments. That part is easy for the government to do.

If the mandatory amount garnished is insufficient to cover the interest owed each month then no payment would be applied to the underlying principal amount. But we don’t know what that amount has now grown into. Along the way, your delinquent account could have had added fees and penalties assessed.

Sadly, this could have been avoided a long time ago by either consolidating your defaulted federal student loans into a new consolidated loan (it can happen) or getting on a rehabilitation program with the Department of Education to stop the garnishment and bring your loan back into good standing. Then, you can get onto an Income-Driven Repayment plan with a potential zero-dollar monthly payment.

For more about rehabilitation, click here and here.

You can compare the different features of rehabilitation or consolidation by looking at this page. You can also decide to follow the guidance on the U.S. Department of Education website or talk to a student loan consultant like Damon Day.


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.

Do you have a question you'd like to ask me for free? Go ahead and click here.

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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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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6 thoughts on “Who Can I Talk to About Student Loan Repayment Issues?”

      • Thanks for your feedback. Re not having dealt with this matter previously, I have some savings and I was afraid having this brought out in giving feedback re my financial status would result in creditor going after that in addition to garnished Social Security. ???

        Re rationale of not putting any payments on principal it seems then that there is no way of ever paying off debt and that one is trapped forever in this garnishment situation. ???

        Thanks for any more helpful input.

        • The issue is not if you are ever going to get it paid off. You probably won’t. The real issue is to get your SS check out of garnishment and into the lowest payment plan until you die at a happy older age.


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