All of the things that I have read have essentially indicated that I cannot do anything about my situation, but I have not seen a scenario in which the borrower was paying a greater amount prior to switching to an income based plan. I started with $125k in Direct Loans and started repayment in Feb 2011. I have never missed a payment and have always worked full-time for a qualifying public service organization during repayment (and still do).
Initial repayment plan was consolidation with an extended repayment plan (30 yrs). I made 48 on time and full payments of $920 per month before learning of PSLF and switching to IBR. All loans are Direct Loans (Graduate) and I am the sole signature on the loans.
I then discovered Public Service Loan Forgiveness. I have been working for a qualifying company since 2010 (before my repayment even started). I changed my repayment plan, as soon as I found out about PSLF, in Feb 2015 to Income-Based Repayment as this was a qualifying method for PSLF. My payments are now $670 per month. I am 12 months in (out of the 120 months) at this point in time which is depressing as it seems I have apparently been suckered out of over $44,000 and 48 months of qualifying PSLF time.
I can provide proof of employment over the entire time frame.
I can provide tax returns and income documentation which shows that $920 payments exceed what IBR would have been during ALL of those years.
I am married. 2 tax years were filed jointly ($920 was still above IBR’s 15% discretionary income cap during those 2 years) and all other years were filed separately.
My question is: Do I, in any way, have a case to claim my non-IBR payments or pre-Feb 2015 PSLF time as being put toward my loan forgiveness. Could I argue that the payments should count because of them being in excess of what the IBR payments would have been or that the PSLF time should count? I am starting to have a family and needless to say, it would be life-changing to be starting year 6 (like I should be) instead of year 2 of repayment. I don’t want the money back, just the qualifying PSLF time.
Should I approach the student aid Ombudsman?
May 3, 2014
You assessment of the situation seems accurate. We have not seen any instances of retroactive payments being credited towards student loan forgiveness, though it makes absolute sense that they should be. We have previously covered the topic here: https://studentloansherpa.com/mailbag-quetstion-retroactively-sign-ibr-public-service-loan-forgiveness/
Given that we are talking about 4 years worth of payments, it is definitely worth your time to investigate every conceivable option to see if you can get credit for your previous payments. The Ombudsman might be a good place to start.
If you do have any luck, please let us know!
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