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Applying for IBR now that I live &I work abroad
November 1, 2017
1:24 pm
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November 1, 2017
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Hi!
I’m new to the forum and have found myself a bit confused as to how to apply for the IBR plan. I moved to another country to live with my husband this February and have been on forbearance since last October (my payments are due again this month). I’ve been working here since then so I pay foreign taxes in my current country of residence. This coming year when I file my taxes I’ll also be filing for the foreign earned income exclusion. I don’t currently earn too much (~$25k/year) and my husband isn’t American so we don’t file our taxes together. In the IBR application it asks for my AGI. When I contacted federal student loan support as to what information I should include (2016 tax info or current income) they said it’s based on my current information. However, since my income will not technically count towards my agi once I file my taxes for 2017 under feie I assume that means my agi is 0? Or should I put my estimated converted salary? I don’t want it based on my 2016 tax information since my agi was quite a lot higher then and I can’t afford to make such high payments.
I’d appreciate any advice I can get because federal loan support just said they couldn’t advise me in this situation and could only tell me to tell the truth. I’m definitely not looking to lie but am completely lost here.
Thanks a bunch!

November 1, 2017
2:01 pm
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May 3, 2014
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You are right about your IBR payments being based upon your AGI… so if your foreign income isn’t included, it will lower your payments.

It sounds like the issue is getting things situated between now and when you file your 2017 taxes. Normally, people just submit their two most recent pay stubs when documenting AGI from last year doesn’t work, but it might be tricky in your case due to the fact that it is foreign income. Have you called your loan servicer to ask about documenting foreign income? I haven’t specifically dealt with this issue, but there should be a procedure in place to estimate it based upon what you are currently earning. I’d be very interested in hearing what they tell you.

If you find it impossible to get affordable IBR payments between now and and when you file your taxes, this is one of those rare situations where asking for a deferment or a forbearance might make sense. We are already in November, so it shouldn’t be too long until you can file your 2017 taxes.

Finally, just because your payments will be very low doesn’t mean your debt will disappear. You may want to put together a long-term plan to eliminate your debt as well.

Good luck!

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