November 9, 2020
My Fiancé and I are trying to determine when we can get married as it relates to her PSLF loan repayment.
She is currently on the REPAYE plan and has made 92-96 / 120 Qualifying payments on her 10 loans.
Is marriage determined by the IRS tax return status or based on the recertification each year?
Is it best to get married after the loans have been forgiven under PSLF? or can we get married after the last certification for the prior year?
May 3, 2014
First, there are a number of factors that go into timing a marriage. Beyond the emotional concerns, there are health insurance concerns and tax considerations. For the purpose of this answer, I will focus exclusively on the student loan questions.
When you certify your income for IDR purposes, they ask marital status.
Theoretically, you could certify for what will be the last year of IDR payments and get married shortly after. The payments would continue for the next year, and then the loans would be forgiven. The risk to this approach is that forgiveness isn’t guaranteed. If there is an issue with your count or something else comes up, it could be a major issue. The PSLF rejection rate has come down from the 99% that scared everyone, but it is still very high.
Finally, just to be clear to you and anyone else reading this, getting married doesn’t prevent you from qualifying for PSLF. Payments on your IDR plan might be higher after marriage, but your soon-to-be wife can still keep her progress towards PSLF. You might also look into signing up for an IDR plan like IBR and filing taxes separately.