Posts Tagged: ‘student loan bankruptcies’

Changes on the Horizon for Bankruptcy and Student Loan Debt

May 16, 2018 Posted by kingcade

In the past it has been nearly impossible to discharge student loans in bankruptcy. This issue has kept many individuals from filing for bankruptcy as they have seen it as not helping relieve them of the biggest debt they carry: student loan debt. That all could change after the U.S. Department of Education announced this year that it will be reviewing its policies and potentially changing the way student loan debt is treated in bankruptcy.

It is estimated that student loan borrowers in the U.S. owe a total of $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. According to the Brookings Institute, around 40 percent of these individuals will end up defaulting on their loans by the year 2023.

The current test for showing that student loan debt should be discharged bankruptcy is the undue hardship test. However, this standard is very subjective, and does not leave a definitive standard across the board of what amounts to undue hardship. Even Florida bankruptcy courts vary in their determination on what defines undue hardship.

The most commonly-used test is the “Brunner Test,” which requires the borrower to show that he or she cannot maintain a basic standard of living while making student loan payments. The borrower has to show that this undue hardship would last throughout the entire repayment period in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and he or she will need to show that efforts have been made to try to repay federal loans.

The Department of Education is looking for ways to clearly define the undue hardship standard. According to Clare McCann, a deputy director of higher education policy at New America, it is likely the Department will broaden the definition.

The Chair of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, recently testified before Congress that the student debt crisis has the possibility of seriously hurting the economy if changes are not made.

A date has not been given for when the determination will happen, but it is one step closer to a change that will make a difference in the current student loan debt crisis in the country.

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

 

Student Loan Debt is Doubling, Tripling, and Even Quadrupling for Some

May 8, 2018 Posted by kingcade

For a number of individuals, what they borrow in student loans can end up being only a portion of what they wind of up owing.  Student loan debt stands at a staggering $1.5 trillion and outstanding student loan debt has tripled over the last decade in the U.S.  This is in part due to many borrowers seeing their balances spiral out of control. According to Persis Yu, director of the Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project at the National Consumer Law Center, “There are ways these loans are structured that encourage this ballooning.”

Many schools have hired consultants to ‘encourage’ struggling borrowers to put their loans into forbearance, which provides a temporary postponement of payments, for a three-year window, according to an April report by the Government Accountability Office (GOA).  While forbearance prevents a borrower from defaulting and accumulating late fees, there are better options, such as income-driven repayment plans.

When a borrower’s student loans go into forbearance the interest on the debt continues to accumulate. Borrowers are often shocked by the new, higher balance.  Another disappointment is the 2007 program, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which allows certain student loan borrowers in government or non-profit public service jobs to wipe out their remaining debt after 10 years of on-time payments. However, a number of students claim that after making 10 years of payments and trying to obtain forgiveness on the remaining balance, were told they did not qualify because they had the ‘wrong type’ of loan.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a report last year about how many people believe they are paying their way toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness only to learn they do not actually qualify for one technical reason or another.

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

The Dangers of Co-Signing a Student Loan

May 3, 2018 Posted by kingcade

It has become common practice for parents of high school students looking to enter college in the fall to co-sign or take out private loans to help their children afford the costs associated with a higher education. Many times, the scholarships (if available to the student) have already been maximized, and the financial aid offered through federal loans simply is not enough to cover the complete costs of college.  However, according to a recent study taking on a private loan or co-signing on one to help a child go to college can seriously hurt the parent later when it comes to retirement.

Most private student loans require a co-signer since most high school students do not graduate with well-established credit. Parents will often jump to co-sign, not even thinking of the potential consequences.

“It’s portrayed to them as if they’re going to simply be a reference or endorser, when the truth is they‘ll be obligated to pay this loan if something happens and the primary borrower can’t pay,” said Seth Frotman, Student Loan Ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). “We now see more and more cosigners going into retirement facing unprecedented levels of student debt.”

According to a survey released by the website LendEDU, a site that specializes in student loan refinancing and private student loan borrowing, of the 500 parents who co-signed on their children’s loans, one-third of them did not fully understand the consequences of co-signing. Out of that number, 35 percent of them later said they regretted doing it. More than half of them said their credit scores took a hit after co-signing. More than one-third of them said that the lower credit scores later hurt their chances of qualifying for any financing in the future.

The parent’s credit can be negatively affected if the child later misses payments or fails to pay the loan on time. The survey also showed that more than one-third of the parents picked up the loan payments for their children.

However, what happens if the parent is unaware their child is keeping up on the loan payments? Many cosigners are not informed of the status of their co-signed loans until it is too late- many times to the point where interest had accumulated and fees had been assessed.  The survey also showed that more than half of the parents worried that their child’s student loan debt would jeopardize their retirement plans.

Every student is different, and while some may naturally be responsible, get a job straight out of college and make payments on the loans without any issue, many students fail to understand the responsibility of paying back these loans and are not so fortunate with their job prospects upon graduation.

One option available is a Tuition Installment Plan (TIP). Through a TIP program, the college may divide tuition into equal monthly payments with no interest added. If the parent or child can afford it, this avoids making one lump sum payment and avoids taking out the additional private loan to cover costs. However, look into whether the student’s specific college offers this option.

We have written previous blog postings on the dangers of co-signing a loan – which puts more than your name on the line.  If you have any questions on this topic, feel free to contact our firm.

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.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/cosigning-loan-your-credit-score-will-drop-you-ll-retire-n739366

 

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/

Disabled Veterans Could See Their Student Loan Debt Cancelled

April 19, 2018 Posted by kingcade

The Department of Education announced this week that it will work together with the Department of Veteran Affairs to identify disabled student loan borrowers who are eligible for debt forgiveness. Borrowers will be notified of their potential eligibility in the mail and will also receive a Total and Permanent Disability Discharge application.

Many veterans are unaware that they may be eligible for student loan debt forgiveness.  There have also been recent changes in tax law that benefit those whose loans are discharged. A provision in the new tax code waives federal income taxes on forgiven education debt for permanently disabled people.

Previously, the IRS considered the cancelled debt as taxable income.  For example, in a 2017 case a veteran who had his $223,000 in student loan debt forgiven, received a tax bill of $62,000.

Click here to read more on this story.

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.