Posts Tagged: ‘federal student loan debt’

Disabled no longer face big tax hit when student loans are forgiven

May 1, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Borrowers who have had their federal student loans forgiven due to “total and permanent” disability determinations will no longer have to pay federal income taxes on the amount forgiven. This change is great news for borrowers who anticipate having loans forgiven in the future. However, if the disabled borrowers were granted loan forgiveness prior to the rule change in December, the benefit does not extend to them as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is not retroactive.

According to a report issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in December 2016, the United States Department of Education forgives an estimated $2 billion in loans owed by disabled borrowers annually.

Disabled borrowers include veterans who are no longer able to work due to service-related injuries but also anyone who is determined to be “totally and permanently disabled” by a physician and is now receiving disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. According to the GAO, over 213,000 people were approved for discharges due to total and permanent disability (TPD) in 2014 and 2015. The typical amount forgiven in 2015 was around $17,500, an amount which would be then considered taxable income by the IRS.

In 2016, the Department of Education, utilizing a computer matching software, identified an additional 387,000 borrowers who appeared to be eligible for loan forgiveness. Notifications were then sent to these individuals regarding their eligibility, also warning them of the tax consequences. An additional 19,000 in new approvals for loan forgiveness were then made.

However, the fact that only 19,000 followed through showed that borrowers may have been either intimidated by the paperwork or scared of the tax consequences of the student loan forgiveness.

Now that no federal tax implications are tied to loan forgiveness for disabled borrowers, lawmakers want to see the Department automatically clear out the debt of those who do meet the eligibility requirements by using the same or similar computer matching program that was previously used. In fact, on Feb. 15, eight lawmakers sent a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and VA Secretary David Shulkin, asking that the process begin in discharging these debts.

“Veterans who have served our country with honor and sustained a debilitating service-connected disability are still facing the burden of payments on debt that is eligible to be forgiven,” the letter said. “Delaying benefits owed to our veterans due to a lack of coordination among federal agencies is unacceptable.”

Certain issues may delay borrowers from filing for a TPD discharge, especially if the filer is not a veteran. Delays have been known to happen at the Social Security Administration level.

“Borrowers with disabilities who are eligible for loan discharge may still struggle to get relief from the burden of their student loans,” the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s student loan ombudsman, Seth Frotman, reports. “Borrowers complain to the Bureau about problems related to every stage of the TPD discharge process.”

Once approval has been given for the disability and the borrower has been approved for loan forgiveness, it is also still possible that the approval can be taken away if the borrower fails to submit to annual income verification that is required for the three years following the approval, also known as the three-year monitoring period. The IRS is not notified that the loan has been forgiven until after the three-year period has been completed.

However, if the borrower was given TPD discharge through a VA application, he or she will not need to do the three-year monitoring period.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) suggests borrowers do the following when seeking TPD loan discharges:

  • Provide proof of disability from a physician, the Social Security Administration or Veterans Administration;
  • If the borrower’s loans are in default, it is recommended that he or she apply for discharge as soon as possible. Any payments being taken out of social security benefits will then stop while the application is being reviewed;
  • Remain in touch with the loan servicer during the three-year review period;
  • Discuss other options if the borrower has been turned down for a TPD discharge. Other income-based repayment plans do exist to help ease the burden if the borrower cannot get a total discharge.

There are ways to file for bankruptcy with student loan debt.  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.

Related Resources: https://www.credible.com/news/student-loans/disabled-no-longer-face-big-tax-hit-student-loans-forgiven/

More Seniors Struggling with Student Loan Debt

January 17, 2018 Posted by kingcade

More than 5 million people began paying off federal student loan debt between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Education.  And not all of them were young people.

The number of borrowers over the age of 60 with student loan debt has quadrupled over the past decade in the United States.  Of the more than 5 million people, 580,671 of them — or 11.5 percent — defaulted on their loans. This is a slight increase from the previous year’s 11.3 percent and the first time the percentage has increased in the last five years.

Many have accumulated the debt helping their children or grandchildren, either by borrowing directly or co-signing on student loans.  As these borrowers age, it becomes more difficult to afford the monthly payments while also paying for necessary food, housing, prescriptions, and medical expenses.

Seniors living month-to-month on fixed incomes are most likely to default.  When this happens to borrowers 65 and older, a portion of their social security benefits can be seized by the government.  Many seniors who are carrying federal student loan debt are eligible for income-based repayment plans, but student loan servicing companies have not made it easy for borrowers to enroll in these programs or even let them know it is an option.

For Florida seniors 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.

Related Resources:

https://www.dcourier.com/news/2018/jan/12/more-seniors-citizens-have-student-loan-debt/

 

Bankruptcy Court Settlement Could Bring $600 Million in Student Loan Debt Relief to ITT Students

January 8, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Students who attended ITT Technical Institute could have $600 million in student loan debt canceled under a new proposed court settlement. The settlement acknowledges that students who attended the college between 2006 and 2016 have a $1.5 billion claim against ITT.  This means that if any money is left over from the school’s assets after its bankruptcy, students could receive a portion of it.

Since ITT abruptly closed its nearly 140 campuses nationwide and declared bankruptcy in the fall of 2016, students have been desperate to seek financial relief.  Nationwide, ITT Tech had an estimated 35,000 students enrolled in classes.

Last January, a group of students led by the Harvard project, filed a lawsuit claiming that they had a right to ITT’s remaining assets, like any other creditor in a bankruptcy case. They claimed that ITT employed aggressive tactics to recruit them.  After recruitment, the students’ allege they were deceived or misled on multiple fronts.  This deception included the cost of attendance, the school’s accreditation status, the experience of instructors, and the likelihood of job placement and salaries they would earn after graduation.

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 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.

Why Paying off Your Student Loan Debt Early Could be a Mistake

September 14, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The average college student who graduated in 2016 had approximately $37,172 in student loan debt.  While experts offer differing opinions on exactly which types of debts are considered good and bad, everyone agrees that debt on something that will end up making you money in the long run is essentially “good debt.”

A 2013 study based on Labor Department statistics showed that Americans holding a four-year college degree made 98% more per hour on average than those without a degree. Student loans are typically a low interest debt, as opposed to credit card debt which is typically the most expensive kind of debt.

The interest rate for undergraduate federal student loans disbursed in 2017 was 4.45%; the rate for federal graduate student loans was 6%. Compare that to the average credit card APR of 15.59%.

The Department of Education allows student borrowers to choose from up to eight different repayment plan options, several of which are designed for those with low income levels. If one repayment plan does not work, you can switch to another.

Private student loan debt is different and comes with a higher interest rate.  Private student loan lenders offer what is called “financial hardship forbearance,” which means you can suspend your payments due to financial hardship but the interest continues to accrue and is added to the balance.

Paying your student loan debt consistently overtime can lead to debt forgiveness.  Certain federal student loan repayment plans can result in automatic debt forgiveness. If you choose the Income-Based Repayment Plan, the Income-Contingent Repayment Plan, or either of the Pay As You Earn Repayment Plans, any balance you owe on your federal loans after 25 years will be automatically forgiven.  Student loan debt interest is also tax deductible, something you will see in your refund after filing your personal taxes.

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 McMaken, 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Student Loan Servicer Accused of Mismanaging Debt Forgiveness Program

August 29, 2017 Posted by kingcade

According to a lawsuit filed by the attorney general of Massachusetts, one of the country’s biggest servicers of federal student loans has mismanaged its debt forgiveness program, raising repayment costs for hundreds of thousands of borrowers who work in public service jobs.

The loan servicer, FedLoan, has made numerous errors, potentially keeping many students in debt far longer than they expected, according to Maura Healey, the Massachusetts attorney general.

The company’s actions have jeopardized the financial futures of teachers and public servants nationwide. Consumer watchdogs and government officials have raised concern with the government’s public service loan forgiveness program, which promises qualifying workers — including teachers, librarians, police officers and doctors and nurses — forgiveness of their remaining federal student loans in return for a decade of full-time service.

Approximately 612,000 borrowers have signed up for the loan forgiveness program and submitted at least one approved certification, according to data from the Education Department.  However, many of the borrowers are concerned about how many of their monthly payments will be counted — or even if the certification itself will be revoked.

The Education Department said that the approval notices the company sends to borrowers seeking certification are not binding and can be rescinded by the department at any time. Four of those borrowers whose approvals were withdrawn are in continuing litigation with the department.  The Education Department says their student loan debt forgiveness was in error.

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.