Normally, when we apply for an income based plan with debt forgiveness, our clients do not have be current in their student loan payments. They cannot be in default, but up to 270 days delinquency is fine. We request a hardship forbearance to cover the missed payments. In many cases, the loan servicer would automatically apply any unused forbearance time. However, I received word today from a fellow attorney that this may be changing – and for the worse. Navient is now claiming that a borrower must be current in their payments to qualify for IDR.
Unfortunately the standard form for requesting IDR payments (despite being 12 pages long) does not have a place to request a retroactive forbearance and many people will likely be denied if such a request is not made separately. So borrowers beware, if your request for IDR payments under IBR, Repaye, ICR or any of the other income based plans is denied, it may still be possible so please inquire further or consult a professional student loan attorney.
Navient’s position is contained in their FACT SHEET on Legal Action released March 21, 2017 in response to the recent CFBP Complaint.
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