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Help! I don't know which IDR plan to request!
August 10, 2017
7:07 pm
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August 10, 2017
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Mr. Lux……hello.
My first time around, I paid off the remainder of my student loan for UT-Austin by serving two years in Americorps……and using the education award I received to pay off what I still owed. I had a very small amount left over, and I brazenly decided, after returning unexpectedly to my hometown, to return full circle to my goal of wanting to become an elementary school teacher. (I had earned my bs in communications specializing in radio/tv/film at UT….but in a town the size of Texarkana, and with an elderly mother to take care of, my specialty learned then is largely unused in this area.)
Fast forward–I did earn my teaching certification—–but definitely at a cost. I substitute taught and applied for teaching positions, and did indeed interview for some, but nothing ever clicked for me. My student loan(s) have been in a state of forbearance for an eternity it seems. I wasn’t getting enough sub teaching work hours, but was okay with, inasmuch as my mom was aging in place (I am an only adult child, and she was not the type of lady to ever want to be in a nursing home/assisted living situation. So the reality for us both, was to achieve graceful aging in place for her. The aging in place was happening too, prior to my teaching certification, as I was taking classes at our A&M University extension. Fast forward some more——In 2013, she fell, injuring her tailbone, and physical /mental deterioration occurred. She underwent two weeks of physical therapy, during which I was with her the entire time. While she was there, she was diagnosed as having frontal temporal lobe dementia. I realized then, and had already realized in my heart, that I need to be there for her, and I became her sole 24/7 caregiver. Meanwhile, again and again, I kept putting my loan(s) in forbearance. And they have edged up per interest, and my inability to make payments. I don’t have the exact amount in front of me, but it is right around at least 20K. At this point in my life, I am 54 years of age, and I’ve concluded that I can’t I can’t allow myself to get an ulcer…..can’t allow myself to stress out over them—-and ultimately decided that it will get paid when I die, and the house I’ve inherited is sold. See, the thing is……..my mother passed away very recently. My dad had died in 2000, that brought about my unplanned/unexpected return to Texarkana, Tx from Austin, Tx. I was her caregiver for many years, but we managed to survive on her Social Security and a very small pension my dad left for her per his work at a local army ammo plant. All through my life I’ve had various physical issues……..most recently, I began having severe tinnitus & losing my left ear hearing in 2008. It worsened from that point on, but as my mom grew more ill (she already had hypertension, neuropathy, arthritis, diabetes, congestive heart failure, and ischemic heart failure) . I’ve been surviving on what little bit she had in savings, after her medical bills, and funeral/burial costs were taken care of. I am on SNAP, (food stamps) and am currently receiving help with my utility bills (both electric, and gas). Via the Texas Workforce Commission sending me to its rehabilitation offices, I was sent to be seen by a ear, nose, and throat doctor, and also an audiologist. The ENT doctor said my hearing loss wasn’t age related nor fluid behind my eardrum, and was concerned that i had an acoustic neuroma on my auditory nerve(s). She had me undergo a MRI, which was also funded by the state. It showed that I have Chiari 1 Malformation aka Arnold Chiari disease, it is congenital and something I’ve had through my life. I just wasn’t cognizant of it causing my physical issues, because I didn’t realize i had it. I’ve now been to a neurologist, and am awaiting funding for a second MRI regarding it, and meanwhile, with the help of a long time friends husband, who is a state judge, I am receiving guidance and literally moral support in applying for disability. I have other issues ongoing also…..hypertension, diabetes etc. Not including symptoms of Chiari, which manifest as sleep apnea, restless legs, migraines, and occipital (sic) headaches. Chiari issues such as those are due to the pressure created by my skull being too small for my brain, causing my brain to extend/drop downwards into my spinal canal. My friend and her husband know someone who specialized in working with people to get disability. As I caregiver I was unpaid, and though I definitely put in many many hours as her sole caregiver, the government doesn’t count those, thus I am trying for SSI, versus SSDI. I finally received the income driven plan paperwork, and have been puzzling over which one…..which plan I need to choose……which one is actually best suited for me and my current and future circumstances. I have been wary of calling the people who issued the paperwork, because I feel that they will state that such a decision is on my shoulders to figure out…..to decide. I’d have emailed you, but didn’t want to risk being overlooked due to my email possibly going into your spam. So, have poured myself into explaining things via this forum, Please forgive the length of this. I am sitting tight, and will be awaiting to read your response here, before I complete and mail in my paperwork. It seemed as though it took forever to arrive, but I do I hope i’m not penalized for getting it in asap. I have ~~got~~ to figure this issue out and would greatly appreciate your help…..your input. Thank you., Sincerely, Karen

August 11, 2017
2:00 pm
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Indiana
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Forum Posts: 211
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May 3, 2014
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Karen,

It definitely seems like you have a lot on your plate right now. Any income-driven plan would likely be an improvement over continuing forbearances. This article on picking the best income-driven repayment plan should be helpful: https://studentloansherpa.com/i…..ment-plan/

One thought that comes to mind is that the REPAYE plan treats extra interest very favorably. If your monthly payments are less than the monthly interest, your balance will grow much slower on REPAYE than other income-driven plans.

The federal repayment estimator is also a very useful tool for deciding which plan is best: https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/mobile/repayment/repaymentEstimator.action

Finally, given your medical issues, you might want to investigate the possibility of a disability discharge on your student loans. More information on this subject can be found here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/disability-discharge

Good luck!

August 12, 2017
2:25 am
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August 10, 2017
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Thank you so much for taking the time……. I’m proud and glad to have encountered your site. I didn’t have anyone locally, really, to consult with.

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