Ask The Get Out of Debt Experts Student Loans

I’m Paralyzed With Fear Over My Student Loans. – Deni

“Dear Steve,

Began 1 of 2 attempts at medical school 20 years ago. Am soon going to be 54 yo. After roughly 2-3 years of trying to make it work, I was dismissed due to poor grades. I was battling something… but didn’t know what. One Dr said depression, another said ADD.

In 2004, the court in lower Manhattan, NY, discharged 4 HEAL loans, much to my surprise… almost like an answer to prayer. Mostly based on my situation, I was not well, not working, and caring for 2 ailing parents who would die the following year. I was shocked, but grateful, for the discharge.

Through the years, that 112K debt has grown to over 250K. It’s been in default the last 5 years at least, I think. It wouldn’t surprise me if it has exceeded 300K by now.

I work, only 32 hours a week, because physically and mentally I can’t handle more, though I don’t share that with people. My rent plus utilities are 50% of my take home pay.

I tried to get my creditors to help me verify that the 36K that was discharged in 2004 was not still being counted in my debt… but, no one would, or could help me. They only want the signature on the promissory note.

I’m paralyzed with fear, not well (but not deemed disabled)… I just don’t have an advocate, or someone with knowledge to help me figure out if those four debts are still being included. The system makes it nearly impossible to trace back the change-of-hands… or it feels impossible to me.

I can’t afford a payment larger than $50 a month, which is laughable with the size of my debt at this point.

I live alone, no partner in my life… and… I’m ashamed to say I think of death often… I’ll be 54, I’m frightened, though few know it… It seems I have no way out…

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I don’t think you have the answer to “What do I do..?” It’s scary when death seems to feel like a welcome release…


Dear Deni,

The fear sucks. There is no doubt about that. But I would be willing to be you are paralyzed because you just don’t have a plan for dealing with this. Let’s get you moving.

Let’s start with some basic information. Are thee private student loans of government backed student loans?

What kind of income do you get monthly? Are you working or getting some sort of benefit check?

Post your answer in the comments below.

And while I’ve got you, I think you should run through the benefits check program at and let’s see if there might be some benefits you are eligible for but not getting.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.


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.

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.

1 Comment

  • I believe more people should go to Fred & Nina’s website and God has blessed us with answers and good people.

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