Yes, it is possible to defer payments on your Stafford, Parent PLUS, Graduate PLUS, and Federal consolidation loans. There are several valid and acceptable reasons including economic hardship, national service, internships, continuing education, military service, and even unemployment.
Federal Deferment Rules
For federal loans you can get a maximum of 36 months of deferred payments and you need to re-qualify for the deferment every twelve months. In order to qualify for a Federal deferment you must have already been granted a deferment on your non Federal student loans, be receiving Federal or State public assistance such as food stamps disability SSI or other programs, be serving actively in the Peace Corps, or your income is less than or equal to the larger of either the Federal minimum wage or 150% of the poverty line for your family size. To get the deferment you must complete the application for deferment and submit proof that you meet any one of these mentioned conditions.
Stafford Loan Deferment
If you are teaching full time in an area of the country where there is a severe shortage of teachers you will not only be eligible for deferment you may also be eligible for substantial loan forgiveness depending in the number of years you plan to stay and teach.
The economic deferment applies if you meet one of the above defined federal guidelines or if you meet guidelines set forth by the specific offering agency of your loan. There is hope in this if you are severely underemployed or even unemployed. Your loan can be deferred under many low income situations.
If you are in a situation where you have been temporarily or permanently disabled you have several options for student loan deferment. In fact if you cannot maintain certification that you received from the education that was funded by the loan due to your disability you may be able to obtain loan forgiveness. If you are being rehabilitated after a temporary disability or retrained from a permanent disability, you can also oftentimes qualify for a student loan payment deferment.
If you are pregnant, have a newborn under your care, or if you have recently adopted a newborn child, you may be eligible for a deferment. This also applies to those that have rights under parental leave laws as well as those that simply have had to leave school temporarily due to a family leave situation. In all of these cases there is grounds and precedent where you can obtain a student loan payment deferral.
There are countless public service deferments available. In fact many of these deferments are coupled with loan forgiveness if you get into the right track. These programs were made available in order to attract graduates to Federal jobs and other positions of Federal service. This includes the military, public health position, teaching positions as well as a number of other positions within the Federal government. In fact any government agent that is actively recruiting for workers normally has some power of payment deferment or debt forgiveness in the offer package to prospective employees.
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