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  •  Do you qualify (24+ / 0-)

    for the loan repayment plan based on % of income?

    I've been impressed with both your intelligence and your passion. Please hang in there. People like you are going to be the force that brings about change.

    Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

    by ricklewsive on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 11:58:17 AM PDT

    •  This is where the miscalculated poverty line (26+ / 0-)

      comes into play. They claim I have enough money but really I don't. I'm basically right on the edge of where I could get medicaid, if you subtracted what I pay for insurance from my income I'm below the poverty level. But from what I can tell that doesn't impact student loan repayment. I'm also supporting two people with just the help of food stamps, but since we're not married that doesn't get factored in.

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 12:28:27 PM PDT

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      •  I asseme you've been through these (24+ / 0-)

        Without knowing your particulars I just don't know if you'd qualify for the income based plan.

        Here's the master list of repayment plans.

        Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

        by ricklewsive on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 12:39:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  AoT: I don't know about your exact situation, but (18+ / 0-)

        have you looked into the William D. Ford Program?

        I was in your shoes close to a decade ago, and they were still able to do an income-sensitive plan with my (mostly grad school) loans.

        We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

        by Samer on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 01:22:09 PM PDT

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      •  AoT (25+ / 0-)

        I got into a federal income based repayment plan. It was NOT offered to me by my student loan lender, who lied and did everything they could to swindle me out of that option. I had to get my senator's office to call my lender, which made them start to work with me. You can apply for this online.

        Now my payments are based on income. This last year, I've had to pay nothing at all based on income. But the downside is I will always have this loan hanging over my head. It still completely sucks.

        I have ideas about forming a co-op based on a shoe string... the only real life I can see for myself is self-employment. I think that may be the long term future for many of us. Band together and secede economically from the damn system as much as possible.

        Things are not looking good long term as far as political solutions go.

        And yes, other countries might be better. Latin American, etc. I'm pretty much in the same boat as you are.

        "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

        by ZhenRen on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 01:53:50 PM PDT

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        •  YES- self-employment (13+ / 0-)

          is not a way to become a millionaire these days but with some creative thinking and a real assessment of your skills, you can make ends meet.

          Grow mushrooms for farmers market in your apartment- they take little space and a minimal investment to start.
          Oyster, not 'shrooms.

          Another indoor ag business wheat grass, also easy and cheap to start.

          I have been self employed for most of my working life and, even tho the economy sucks, there are ways to support yourself.

          I mentioned in a previous diary that a couple i know is now making a good living making kettle corn for fairs, birthday parties, craft fairs.

          Niche foods are the best income creators these days.
          Take my newest plan of a mobile cupcake van and focus on late night college campus runs.

          We are all trapped by this insane shit and i hope you find a way to feel better.

          'How like fish we are: ready, nay, eager, to seize upon whatever new thing.......And how we rue our haste, finding the gilded morsel to contain a hook". ALDO LEOPOLD - A Sand County Almanac

          by flowerfarmer on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 02:40:03 PM PDT

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        •  Careful...IBR can be a trap. (9+ / 0-)

          The magic of compound interest isn’t so magical when it’s working against you. If you're on income-based repayment and your monthly payment is less than the monthly interest the difference gets capitalized, i.e.: added to your principal. Then you end up paying interest on the capitalized interest. The debt actually grows over time. The longer you head down that road, a straight payoff of the loan becomes harder and harder and you end up relying on the loan forgiveness that comes after 20 or 25 years of making payments as the only way to discharge the debt.

          The kicker there is that, at least under current rules, the IRS treats forgiven student loan debt as taxable income. You would get rid of the student loan debt but have it replaced by a tax liability of possibly many thousands of dollars. Admittedly, the tax debt would be smaller than the student loan, but the IRS doesn’t offer 25-year repayment plans either.

          Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

          by Joe Bob on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 03:43:01 PM PDT

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          •  All that is true, but if you are insolvent (13+ / 0-)

            at the time your student loan debt is discharged, per IRS rules, then you will owe no tax liability.
            That's what happened to me. I was able to have my massive student loan debt discharged because I have advanced cancer--not a course of action I would recommend for anyone--and so my debt was discharged on the grounds of total and permanent disability.
            If I had had any assets, which I didn't, I believe the amount of taxes I would have been assessed would have been based in part on that. As it was, I had my debt discharged without owing any taxes on the so-called windfall.
            I'm just lucky, I guess. Really, it could be worse.

            Support Small Business: Shop Kos Katalogue If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

            by peregrine kate on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 03:49:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You are the rare exception (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT, No Exit, shaharazade

              By 'discharged' does that mean you had to go through personal bankruptcy in order to have the loans discharged? The NYT had a sobering article on this subject a couple of years ago: Last Chance to Shed Student Loans - Proving All Is Hopeless

              The article describes one scenario where a man who is legally blind has trouble meeting the legal threshold for 'undue hardship' that one has to meet to have student loan debt discharged in bankruptcy. You actually have to prove to a judge that the possibility of repayment is hopeless. I kid you not, "certainty of hopelessness" is what you have to prove.

              Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

              by Joe Bob on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 09:47:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No. I had them discharged under the provision (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                No Exit, shaharazade, Joe Bob

                for total and permanent disability. I did not have to go through bankruptcy proceedings at all. I'm just pointing out that it is possible not to be left holding the bag for a huge "windfall" if the debt is somehow forgiven. Insolvency is apparently a technical term referring to the condition of someone whose debts exceed one's assets. That was certainly the case for me, even without including my student loan debt.
                I am aware of how difficult it is to discharge student loans in any other way. That is wrong; one shouldn't have to die or come close to it to have those loans forgiven.
                It seems absurd for a man who is legally blind to have to demonstrate his inability to pay back a loan. He would be lucky to have a job, any job, given the likely discrimination he would face (let alone any difficulties he would have with work).

                Support Small Business: Shop Kos Katalogue If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

                by peregrine kate on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 10:03:46 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I concur, also based on personal experience (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ZhenRen, peregrine kate

              wherein my student loan debt, which had more than doubled in ten years, was discharged, in full, without tax liability, due in part to disability.

              What was exceptional in my case was that discharge occurred via bankruptcy court, which is almost unheard of. But possible. I'm still in awe of the people at my local Legal Aid office who represented me in this and other matters, pro bono.

              The links above are a good place to start, when you're up to it.  

              A couple of student loan-specific caveats apply in the case of defaulted loans.

              If your loans have defaulted, they're likely in the hands of third-party collections, and ineligible for IBR until the default is "cured." The servicer may be negotiated with to establish small-ish monthly payment for a specific term, usually about 12 months, although the servicer may elect to waive the balance of time after regular payments. For a couple of my loans that had defaulted accidentally, that happened after 10 months of payments.

              When loans default without a record of good faith attempts  to work with the lender (a history of previous payments, application for alternative plans, etc.)  you are exposed to a higher likelihood of a successful judgement entry by the lender or servicer, allowing them to garnish wages or federal benefits or tax returns. This is the case for my estranged husband, whose SSDI is now being decimated by a garnishee, despite his eligibility for complete disability discharge.

              I feel your pain.  While you're hanging in there, I encourage you also to reach out to your local IRL community to find services/programs that may help you and your household to get by.  Food stamps is a start, yes. And you can BOTH apply (if you haven't already), as long as you furnish a statement to the effect  that "food is purchased and prepared separately," and are otherwise eligible.

              Don't forget food banks, HEAP and PIPP+ for utilities assistance,  and the longshot of housing assistance through your local HUD/HA (e.g. Section 8 voucher for rent; they also had/have a program for households with income > $15K, supporting home ownership with low/no cost financing).  Many areas have a 211 information phone number for referrals, staffed by United Way volunteers; my observation has been that if  you ask the right questions, good information is available. But, at least in my area,  a google search on specific terms like food assistance, housing etc. for your county will get more/better results.

              As difficult as it was at times for me to transition (from being a social-worky/psych crisis interventionist, who made referrals to social services & safety net programs) to being an informed consumer of services, I recognise I had an edge when I fell way below poverty. I was already plugged into this information, and could act, thus restoring in a tiny way, my sense of control over my own circumstances. Not to mention the pro of not ending up homeless, sick and starving.

              I don't claim to know you or your circumstances, so I apologise if I overstepped, or made any inappropriate suggestions or comment.  My intent is to offer help and empathy.  If there's any way I might assist (advocating from my location in Ohio), please don't hesitate to ask. But I doubt you'll need to - as others have already mentioned, you're obviously a smart, capable person.

              It will get better.  With others, I wish you the best.

              •  I'm glad you were able to find a way out. (0+ / 0-)

                They are so terribly burdensome.

                Thanks for your other suggestions, but fortunately we've been OK. I married six months before my diagnosis, and my husband has been extraordinarily entrepreneurial, even for a musician. So our cash flow has been fine, we just didn't have any assets. The tough stretch was when we had to pay for our health insurance out of pocket: none of his employers offered that as a paid benefit, though one of them magnanimously offered to let him have access to the group policy. They have made him pay for the entire premium, however, in violation of their own policies, and have implied he can protest if he wants; they'd just cut him off completely in that case. (I try not to be bitter.)

                Now I have qualified for Medicare, which helps a lot, reducing our health insurance bill by about $450/month. Still, we pay about $900/month for him and my daughter. And, we can't qualify for policies under the new exchanges because his share of the premium is considered affordable. It stinks, but we're doing OK. It has been a huge help to have that student debt burden lifted, as you can appreciate.

                Thanks for your kind wishes. As long as my health remains stable and the cancer doesn't recur, we'll be fine. I hope that you do well yourself. Sliding down that slippery slope to poverty is not easy, no matter the resources you can bring to bear.

                Support Small Business: Shop Kos Katalogue If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

                by peregrine kate on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 10:07:44 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Yep.. (8+ / 0-)

            I know. But the same things occurs if you go into default, and don't make payments. In fact, it was worse, with all the fees from default they add on. I had no choice.

            This is debt slavery.

            "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

            by ZhenRen on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 03:49:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Well they can't get blood from a stone, can (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT, ZhenRen, Joe Bob

            they?  I guess they could put you in jail for the rest of your life (i.e. "until you can pay" which would be never) assuming you let them take you alive in the first place.

            You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

            by Throw The Bums Out on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 04:59:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  They will do their best (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kfunk937, shaharazade, ZhenRen

              If you owe on Federal student loans they can garnish tax refunds for payment. Even Social Security and disability payments are not exempt from garnishment - which any other sort of debt collector can't touch.

              Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

              by Joe Bob on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 09:51:33 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Do not mess (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT, ZhenRen

            with the IRS. Ironically the IRS is who gets to determine our income for healthcare insurance. No thanks been there and won't go back. Where a self proprietorship b to b and the IRS is who decides what our income really is. We danced with the IRS  fifteen years ago and ended up paying 100,000 on what was a 12,000 $ back debt. We really do not want to get involved in any haggles with them again. They are accountable to no one including the courts.

            To pay them off we refinanced our house and got a dicey refinance mortgage that was going to blow up in the financial meltdown. I saw this bubble time bomb coming and thanks to the economic writers here moved our mortgage and accounts to a reputable credit union. The credit union helped us clear up the IRS mess which even though we had paid it off was still attached to our credit record. The mortgage guy at the CU tracked down the problem which was a computer glitch in CA that just kept running like a taxi meter even though it had been paid. Penalties and interest and no time limit or legal constraints make the IRS omnipotent and they do love to getcha.            

        •  They bailed out the banks (15+ / 0-)

          Cuz they defrauded millions with our taxes, yet won't do a damned thing to help people in debt.
          Then the banks took our tax money and gave themselves huge bonuses.
          Not one person went to jail, and they are still doing those things.
          Launder billions for drug cartels?  No problem.
          I too had huge hopes that Obama would help this country out of the mess the previous administrations got us in to.
          But he is just continuing their agenda.
          He keeps talking about income inequality, yet signed the farm bill that stripped so much food stamp help.
          He sure talks great, but never follows thru.
          And too many people give him a pass and blame the Rethugs.
          Yes they are evil, but why can't he and the Dems fucking fight them?  
          Instead of bailing out the banks, the money should have gone to us.
          We could have paid off our loans, bought houses and other things, and the banks would get their money back.
          Now he is defending the Iraq war. Common dreams has the article.
          There is always money to give to other countries, but at the cost to us.
          If he was serious about the poor in this country, he could quit the military adventures in way too many countries that have resources the corporations want.
          Make them pay for their invasions instead of us.
          Sigh, I feel your pain AoT.
          Great rant.

          Nobel peace prize winner Barack Obama did not just pick up that 3:00 am phone call, but, as has been noted, he mostly stayed on the phone making war and sending out drones for his entire terms in office.

          by snoopydawg on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 04:26:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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