Yes, you can. In fact, it is the most common type of deferment. Deferments are temporary fixes, not solutions though. If you cannot afford your student loan payment, then these are not going to help you in the long term. But if your hardship is short term, this could be a way to go.
This deferment is granted for one year with a three year maximum. The start date is not the date of application, but the date that the economic hardship began. This makes it very useful because it can erase a delinquency of 270 days, which can help your credit. So if you are close to default at the time the deferment is granted, it will bring you current!
How Do I Qualify?
There are four ways to qualify for this type of deferment:
- You received an economic hardship deferment for another loan
- You are receiving federal or state public assistance (e.g. welfare)
- You are a Peace Corps volunteer
- You are a low income earner employed full time (This is derived either from the federal minimum wage or 150% of poverty level based on family size
Again, deferments are quick fixes and bandages on a wound. If you are in an economic hardship, you should apply for IBR for your loans and be working towards their eventual payment or discharge. However, you cannot get IBR if you are in default, so a deferment can stop the 270 day clock while you apply.
Can I Get Some Help Here?
If you live in southern New Jersey and would like to consult with me on deferments or a better payment plan, please feel free to call my office at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site to schedule an appointment in my Woodbury office to discuss your case.
If you would like more information about student loans, you can dowload my free book, I Graduated; Now What? A Guide to Dealing with Your Student Loans.