Prior to 1998, student loan debt (federal and private loans) were dischargeable in bankruptcy, but federal legislation enacted that same year removed the ability to do so—except in extreme circumstances, those that qualify under the “undue hardship” standard. Since the test is not regulated by any law, the courts must determine the severity of the debtor’s circumstances to qualify them for relief.
The three-pronged test to determine undue hardship:
- You must prove that you are unable to maintain a minimal standard of living, while repaying the debt;
- You must prove that your current destitute circumstances will last for a long time;
- You must show that you have made “good-faith efforts” to repay your loan in the past.
Last week, the Education Dept. announced that it would seek public comment on how to determine whether borrowers have met the undue hardship standard to have their student loan debt forgiven in bankruptcy. Several Democrats, including Sen. Elizabeth A. Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, have introduced legislation that would allow student loans to be discharged via bankruptcy.
There are ways to file for bankruptcy with student loan debt. Congress has yet to established what “undue hardship” means with regard to students’ having their loans forgiven in bankruptcy; still, courts have set legal standards for proving it.
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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 McMaken 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.