A deferment is when a lender lets you stop making payments on your loan for a short time, and under some circumstances, without adding interest. Deferment is the best option for loan repayment, but you can only get a deferment if your loans are not in default.
To get a deferment at least one of these situations must apply to you. You must be:
- Actively looking for a full-time job but have not been able to find one
- A student going to school at least half-time
- On active duty status in the Armed Forces
- Receiving federal or state public assistance benefits such as SSI or food stamps
- Working full time but earning no more than the greater of the federal minimum wage or 150% of the federal poverty level
- In a rehabilitation training program
- Temporarily totally disabled
- Providing home care to a disabled spouse
- Taking parental leave
- The mother of preschool children, starting work at minimum wage or $1 over
Different types of student loans have different rules for deferment. The longest you can defer any loan is 3 years.
During a deferment with Subsidized Federal and Perkins loans, the amount of your loans generally does not increase because interest is not added to the loans. Unlike the 6 month grace period after you stop attending school, deferment does not happen automatically. You must apply for a deferment.
If you have a Federal Stafford or Perkins Loan, you can get a deferment if you:
- Receive unemployment benefits
- Receive public benefits
- Enroll full-time at participating school
- Are in rehabilitation for disability
- Are having temporary economic hardship
Temporary economic hardship can be shown in different ways. One way is to prove that you receive state or federal public aid. Another example of economic hardship is if you work full-time and still earn the lesser of the federal minimum wage; or 150% of the poverty level.
The government has an economic hardship calculator you can use to see if you qualify. Click here to apply for deferment.
Updated: June 2017