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Christie_1Did you realize that we have free videos on what to do about your student loan on our YouTube Channel “Student Loan Sidebar”?  Here’s a post from a few hours ago from one of our followers:
  • YouTube videos on student loan forgiveness have just been absolutely amazing. They break it down so it simple to understand. This whole thing has been so frustrating and these videos help to alleviate much of the anxiety I’ve had. Thank you! 
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arkovich_law-narrowConsumer complaints in Florida have a few things going for them that can make them easy to prove.

One of the things that benefits Florida consumers is our use of the “least sophisticated” debtor test.

What does this actually mean?

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EIDLFirst, and I must stress, EIDL loans are not forgivable.  They were intended to help small businesses recover from the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, EIDL Advance funds are like grants and do not have to be repaid.

More information is available on the SBA website:  https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/covid-19-relief-options/eidl

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Christie_1I had a consult recently that is a good overview of what questions our clients have and how we are able to drill down to the essentials and help determine the best path forward to ending student loan debt.  This client reached out to us after viewing one of our Youtube Student Loan Sidebars where we go over the practical impact of new programs and what we see out there to help student loan borrowers.

Client:  300k SL debt, mostly Direct, 23k FFEL.  Client has a pending consolidation app.

Key concern:  How does IDR impact me?  Did PSLF Help Tool but still confused.

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Christie_1All this talk about changes within the federal student loan system, I didn’t want to give the impression that nothing can be done with private student loans.  Just today, we have a client who accepted an offer to save $165,000 on his private student loans!   And this was not a lump sum settlement to be paid all at once.  The terms are the reduced balance is to be paid out over 27 years at a very low interest rate of 1%.  They payment is exceptionally low and finally affordable!

So while a full discharge or 100% forgiveness may not always be possible with a private loan, settlements are very realistic with the right facts.  Contact us if you have a private student loan and need some help getting it resolved!

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arkovich_law-narrowAs we are getting closer to a repayment start date, I wanted to briefly mention that there are several things that should be considered before choosing to refinance a federal student loan:

  • Income Driven Plan availability – the new Repaye program will have an incredibly low payment with ultimate forgiveness that should benefit all but the very highest of wage earners.
  • The IDR Waiver program is causing a one time account adjustment to occur this year giving forgiveness credit for any long term extended forbearances as well as complete write off of loans where repayment has exceeded 20 years for undergrad and 25 years for grad loans regardless of payment plan length.
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arkovich_law-narrowBankruptcy is not only for discharging credit cards!

New DOJ procedures allow us now to discharge federal student loans attesting to an undue hardship.  We are co-presenting a webinar for the American Bankruptcy Institute on February 27 outlining this new program and helping our colleagues identify clients who may be eligible and learning how a bankruptcy filing can now discharge federal student loans.

Also, folks are receiving notices to begin repayments of EIDL, SBA or unforgiven PPP loans.  Most of those loans are pretty sizable and can easily be discharged in a bankruptcy.  We don’t recommend waiting to file.  As it stands now, we don’t expect any challenges that these loans were fraudulently obtained, but that could change with a future administration.

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social-image-logo-ogNew IDR Terms Announced!  Sorry for the delay in getting this out, Covid has put me behind a week or so.

The new IDR Plan expected out in July before the payment pause ends will not exactly be a new plan.  Instead of confusing borrowers and making yet another IDR plan, the Department of Education has decided to modify the terms of the existing Repaye plan to try and simply things.  While some of us are a little worried that this process would enable a future administration to change the terms back, we do feel that the steps underway will be a huge improvement for federal student loan borrowers.  Also, it would be difficult for a new administration to back date substantive negative changes so while we don’t expect this to occur, it’s in the back of our minds.

The changes are underway now and a formal 30 day comment period commenced a few days ago.  If the terms do not meaningfully change before implementation this summer or fall, here’s what to expect:

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Here’s a news clip on this topic that ran yesterday:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77xsEU7rFM0

It’s a good short 2 minute summary of what this means and well worth a listen!  I haven’t seen this in the news much and we really need to get the word out because in my 30 years of practice, I see this as finally working to discharge significant federal student loan debt.

So how are we starting on this to get our student loan and bankruptcy clients discharges in 2023?

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how-to-tell-if-a-debt-collector-is-legit-832x400-1When is it time to ignore calls versus doing something about them?

If you are being harassed or threatened collection actions on old debt, there are many things to consider.  First, a legitimate collector is required to send you something in writing within five days of the initial contact under the FDCPA.  That’s sort of a litmus test.  Receiving nothing in writing is a violation, but it’s also a sign of a debt scammer.

Second, check your credit report via annualcreditreport.com.  If the debt is on there, it’s causing you harm and you should do something about it.  Contact us or another consumer attorney — the first steps would be to dispute the debt.  Often the consumer rules aren’t being followed.  For instance, balances are reflected more than once, or are inaccurate in other ways.  We often file actions under the Fair Credit Reporting Act which may result in the debt being removed once and for all (waiver of debt or trade line deletion), and you may receive damages due to the inaccuracies.  Everything relies on good credit it seems.  Bad credit can harm you in all kinds of ways.  You don’t pay us up front – we only get paid if we are successful in obtaining a recovery.

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