If you find you can’t meet your repayment schedule but you’re not eligible for a deferment, you might be granted forbearance for a limited and specified period. During forbearance, your payments are temporarily postponed or reduced. Forbearance can also be an extension of the time you have to repay your loan. Unlike deferment, whether your loans are subsidized or unsubsidized, you’ll be charged interest during forbearance. If you don’t pay the interest as it accrues, it will be capitalized.
As is true with deferment, you aren’t just granted forbearance automatically; you must formally request one from your loan holder. You might have to provide documentation to support your request. You might be granted forbearance if you are:
- unable to pay due to poor health or other unforeseen personal problems.
- serving in a medical or dental internship or residency.
- serving in a position under the National Community Service Trust Act of 1993 (forbearance can be granted for this reason for a Direct or FFEL Stafford Loan, but not for a PLUS Loan).
- obligated to make payments on certain federal student loans that are equal to or greater than 20 percent of your monthly gross income.
This is not a complete list of conditions that might qualify you for forbearance. For more information, contact your loan holder.
Unlike deferment, which you’re entitled to receive, the loan holder does not have to grant forbearance except in certain mandatory circumstances (check with your loan holder for details). In most cases, however, lenders are willing to work with you if you show you’re willing but temporarily unable to repay your debt.
Forbearance forms may be obtained on USAFunds website.