When we think of those struggling with student loan debt, we typically think of millenials still living with their parents. However, many boomer parents are struggling, too. According to a report from the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), older Americans are carrying an “unprecedented amount of student loan debt into retirement.”
In 2015, older consumers owed an estimated $66.7 billion in student loan debt. Nearly 867,000 borrowers 65 and older owed federal student loans in 2015, now the fastest growing segment of student loan borrowers.
With these new findings, it seems the education debt crisis and retirement are closely tied. A growing number of older borrowers are struggling to make their loan payments, oftentimes due to reduced incomes in retirement.
A growing number of federal student loan borrowers age 65+ had their Social Security benefits reduced or offset because of unpaid student loans – 8,700 in 2005 and 40,000 in 2015. The vast majority of the older borrowers, approximately 73%, took out student loans to finance their children’s or grandchildren’s education. Many of these loans were taken out under the Parent PLUS Loan Program, with a current interest rate of 6.31%, the only federal program that allows parents to borrow for the undergraduate education of their children.
Here are some tips for older borrowers struggling with student loan debt:
If you have co-signed your child or grandchild’s student loan, request the servicer send you an account statement so you can learn the outstanding balance and pay off the loan.
If you are struggling to make federal student loan payments, you may qualify for a payment plan that can substantially cut your costs. For example, if you retire and your income drops substantially, you can apply for an income-based repayment plan. This could reduce your payments and even suspend them.
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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, 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.