Thomas B. Hjerpe, Esq.
Kenneth J. Collins, Esq.
Jocelyn M. Godniho, Esq.
Catherine M. Koshkin, Esq.
350 E Street, First Floor
Eureka, CA 95501
Telephone: 707 442-7262
We are a debt relief agency. We help people to file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code
Student loans are very hard to eliminate in a bankruptcy. It requires litigation, it can be expensive and it is hard to establish the required standards. However, there are options outside of bankruptcy to deal with student loans.
Eliminating student loans in bankruptcy is very difficult. The legal standard that we must establish to discharge student loans is "undue hardship." There are three issues we must establish to prove "undue hardship," as follows:
I. Current Inability to Pay: First we must show that after elimination of your other debts in bankruptcy you still do not currently have the ability to make the regular monthly payments on your student loans. This is regardless of your ability to save money. However, we may be able to establish that some minimal retirement savings is necessary or that you have unmet medical insurance or medical care needs. However, if you can survive with the student loan payments, we will fail on this standard.
II. Best Efforts: Second we must show that you have made best efforts to repay the student loans in the past. Generally this is an easy standard to meet. I have had clients who have never made payments who nevertheless have been able to show that they made best efforts under their particular circumstances. In several cases the clients kept the loans in forbearance and deferment without lapse because they simply did not have the means to make payments at any point. If you have made any payments, we should be able to establish that you have made "best efforts."
III Future Inability to Pay: Finally, we must establish that you would never have the income sufficient to repay the student loan debt in the future. If you are disabled and receiving Social Security Disability income, inability to pay is clear. Where you have a well-documented history of low paying jobs, in ability to pay can be shown. However, the Court may be looking for a level of hardship greater than financial impossibility.
Outside of bankruptcy there are several options for dealing with student loans. The lender will offer deferment and forbearance to help with a temporary inability to pay. If you have become permanently and totally disabled the lender will have provisions for cancellation of the student loans. The lenders seem to make disability cancellation hard to get and it may not be available unless you have a physician who will support your application and will testify that you are permanently and totally disabled. If you do not qualify for disability cancellation and you have exhausted deferments and forbearance, you may qualify for an income contingent payment program. The income contingent payment programs set your payment using a formula based on your income and ability to pay. If you remain low income and stay in the program for 20 years the remaining student loan debt will be eliminated.
The federal Student Loan Ombudsman provides information and assistance. The phone number is: 877-557-2575
The web site is located at:
Student loans never get too old to collect. They will always come back to get you.
To eliminate student loans in bankruptcy requires litigation.
Your student loans can be canceled by the lender if you become permanently and totally disabled - without the need for litigation.