In response to the hardships created by the pandemic, then-President Trump paused repayment of federal student loans starting in early 2020. President Biden extended that pause multiple times, with the latest adjustment extending the deadline until August 31st.
Biden’s new plan extends the pause a final time through December 31, 2022, with payments resuming in January 2023. This final pause in repayment will occur automatically, and borrowers are not required to do anything to take advantage it.
Last month, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) announced a plan that includes the cancellation of up to $20,000 in student loan debt, which would benefit an estimated 43 million borrowers, and completely cancel the debt for 20 million.
While the rollout of this debt cancellation plan has not been without controversy, I wanted to cut through the political talking points and show how this might immediately affect you and your family.
Here are some FAQs that could be helpful to you:
Q: How do I know if I am eligible for debt cancellation?
A: To be eligible, your annual income must have fallen below $125,000 (for individuals) or $250,000 (for married couples or heads of households). Those who received a Pell Grant in college and meet the income threshold are eligible for up to $20,000 in debt cancellation.
If you did not receive a Pell Grant in college and meet the income threshold, you will be eligible for up to $10,000 in debt cancellation. Your eligibility is capped at the amount of your outstanding debt, so you will not receive any money in excess of your total debt.
Q: How do I apply for loan forgiveness?
A: If you think you are eligible, you should file an application with the DOE. That said, nearly 8 million borrowers whose relevant income data
is already available to the DOE will receive relief automatically.
Q: When will applications be available?
A: A simple application which will be available by early October.
Q: How can I get an application?
A: If you would like to be notified when the application is open, please sign up at the Department of Education subscription page.
Q: How long will it take to process my application?
A: Once a borrower completes the application, they can expect relief within 4 to 6 weeks.
Q: When should I apply to ensure the best chance of repayment?
A: Borrowers should apply before November 15, 2022 in order to receive relief before the payment pause expires on December 31, 2022. However, the DOE will continue to process applications as they are received, even after the pause expires on December 31, 2022.
Q: What is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program?
A: The PSLF is a program that offers certain individuals, namely those who worked with nonprofits, the military, or federal, state, tribal, or local governments, the possibility to have their entire student loan debt canceled.
Q: How do I know if I am eligible for the PSLF?
A: If you have worked in public service (federal, state, local, tribal government or a non-profit organization) for 10 years or more (even if not consecutively), you may be eligible to have all your student debt canceled.
Q: How do I apply for the PSLF program, and what is the deadline for applying?
A: To be eligible, you must apply before October 31, 2022. Enrollments received on or after Nov. 1, 2022 will not be eligible. To learn more or apply, visit the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program homepage.
Q: Is any of the debt relief offered by this program taxable?
A: None of the relief offered by the plan is subject to federal income tax. State and local income tax implications may vary.
If you have any other questions or would like learn more about how this new policy could affect your existing estate plan, don’t hesitate to contact us.
This article is a service of Schwartz Legacy Planning, Personal Family Lawyer®. We do not just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.