The number of student loan borrowers age 60 and up has increased to 2.2 million, from 700,000 in 2005, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Twenty-seven percent of education loans held by people age 65-74 were in default in 2013, which means they have not made a payment in 270 days or more. In fact, more than half of education loans held by people 75 and older were in default.
The government has the ability to garnish wages for non-payment of student loans- even take your tax refund, but with seniors they have added leverage- their social security. In 2013, 155,000 seniors lost part of their retirement benefit to repay education debt, up from 31,000 in 2002, according to the GAO.
This has left many seniors helpless, as most forms of consumer debt can be discharged in bankruptcy- student loan debt cannot. Congress said in the 1970s that such debt can go away only if a debtor can prove repaying it would impose an “undue hardship.”
However, Congress never defined undue hardship, so it has been left to the courts discretion to determine just how desperate someone needs to be to qualify for relief. Bankruptcy judges have said that to get education loans discharged, borrowers must show their entire lives would otherwise be characterized by a “certainty of hopelessness” or that repaying the debt “strips [the debtor] of all that makes life worth living.”
Click here to read more on this story.
For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.