Ask The Get Out of Debt Experts Student Loans

My Social Security Number is Off By One Digit. Do I Still Have to Repay My Student Loan? – Steven

“Dear Steve,

I have recently filed for bankruptcy. After the discharge I found out about a student loan that is now in collections. (I assume the collections agency was able to locate me due to the bankruptcy filing.) The problem is that the social security number the collections agency has for me is incorrect (off by one number) which I think is the reason why they have not been able to locate me before now. The loan amount has doubled since it was taken out.

I do not dispute that I had the loan, but am I liable for the interest since the social security number the collections agency has for me is incorrect? Perhaps the social security number error goes back to the school I took the loan from or the department of Education, because the debt does not appear on my credit report now or on credit reports I’ve ordered in the last decade. I barely have the money to support myself. I am really not able to pay back the loan PLUS interest. Is there any help for someone in this situation?


Dear Steven,

It does not sound unreasonable that the loan amount has doubled. Especially since you have not made payments in some time and that a collections fee of up to 40% of the loan balance can be added.

The SSN issue is academic but does not take away from the fact that it is your loan and you received the benefit of the loan.

The good news is this is a government backed loan and their are good programs to bring the loan current again. You might want to first look at the Income Based Repayment Program (IBR) for a payment you can afford.

Please update me on your progress by posting updates here in the comments section of your question. I’m very interested in how this works out for you.

About the author

Steve Rhode

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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