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Guide to Re-Certifying IBR and PAYE Payments

Michael Lux How to Guides, Student Loan Blog, Student Loans 2 Comments

Being able to sign up for an Income Based Repayment Plan is a huge perk to federal loans.  However, IBR and PAYE are not plans that you can just sign up for and forget about.  In order to stay on your income based repayment plan, it is required that you re-certify your income each year.  While this process can be a little clunky, it can be done in a few minutes by most.

Most lenders will send out a letter a few months before your plan expires reminding you to send in the paperwork.  Getting everything addressed before your plan expires is critical because it helps you avoid any expensive months on the standard repayment plan.  Because lenders and postmen make mistakes, it is recommended that you keep track of when your 12 months are up.  I personally re-certify IBR and do taxes at the same time each year.  Going this route helps ensure that I don’t forget.

The actual steps to re-certification are pretty simple…

Step 1: Go to your lenders website

At your lender website the link you will be looking for will be to manage repayment plans, or something similar.  If you have myfedloan, you will want to click on the link on the left side that says, “Manage Repayment”.  From there, click on the link to “Change Repayment Plan”.   There you will see a link to “Re-Certify” payments.

Change repayment Plan Link

Note: For some lenders, such as Navient, there is no link or form to fill out in order to re-certify.  They will just instruct you to go to  In that case, proceed directly to Step 3.

Step 2: Fill in the blanks

There shouldn’t be too much work required for this part.  The only tricky detail is finding out how much your gross adjusted income was on your previous tax form.  Once you complete the forms and submit, you will be taken to

Step 3: Go to

In order to complete this step you will need to remember your federal PIN.  This number was the one that you used to fill out the FAFSA.  Once you are logged in, the screen you are taken to will look something like this if you are coming from the lender site:


If you went directly to, you will first have to click on the link to “Complete Income-Driven Payment Plan Request” as shown below:

Income driven plan request


Step 4: Pick your reason for IBR/PAYE calculation request

In this case, our purpose is for the annual recalculation, so select the second choice.

Income Driven Request

You will also have update your contact information with the Department of Education on this page.

Step 5: Link up with the IRS

The purpose for the link up with the IRS is so that you can authorize the IRS to send your tax information to and your lender.  This is how they verify your income.  In order to authorize the IRS to send over your information, you will have to prove your identity with them.

Link to IRS

Step 6: Send Your Information

Once you have completed the necessary identification process with the IRS, you will be given the option to have the IRS electronically send your proof of income to your lender.  Choosing this option will allow your application to be processed as quickly as possible.

IRS Authorization

Step 7: Wrap Up

Once you have submitted your proof of income from the IRS, the only remaining step will be to monitor the progress.  Lenders may tell you that it takes months to go through the entire process, but if you did it electronically, it should be done rather quickly.  The important thing is to keep an eye on everything.  If a couple weeks have passed and you haven’t heard anything from your lender, give them a call to see if they received the IBR application.  If for some reason it got lost, you can go to and get a pdf copy of the application.

Finally, be sure to mark your calendar or set a remind on your phone to make sure you remember to go through the same process next year.

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I would think it is similar to a minimum payment on your credit card! You do it when You have to and change as soon as you can.

Jamie S.
Reply to  krantcents

Not really. Using an income-driven repayment plan might be a short-term idea, but the main reason people use these plans is because they are working in public-service or nonprofit careers. If that’s the case, you always keep the income-driven plan, because after 120 qualifying payments, the remainder of your loan balance is written off.