Seniors, Social Security, and Sallie Mae
September 11, 2014 9:59 AM   Subscribe

Thinking ahead to my eventual retirement, I phoned Sallie Mae earlier this year, and spoke with a rep who was easy to chat with, and seemed well-informed and helpful. I asked her if there was any sort of discount or other concession made for student loan payments once the debtor retired and began drawing Social Security. Her answer was that, good news, once I provide Sallie Mae with documentary evidence that I am drawing Social Security, the balance of my loans would be waived.

We talked briefly about what a great public service this is, could be compared to a hardship or unemployment exemption, so thank you Sallie Mae!

But I was recently reminded that "Navient" will be taking over my loans soon, so I called Sallie again to make sure that that policy would be honored by Navient. This time I got a rep who really could have been a software voice, and who denied ever having heard of such a program. Several news stories lately have spotlighted the number of retirees who will continue to be obligated with student loan payments well into their dotage. None of them have mentioned the possibility of waiver, so I guess that was wrong. But could there have been any grain of truth in it, and if not how could such a wild fantasy have been laid out for me? If it matters, I have been indebted to Sallie for decades, and have never been delinquent. I realize I should have asked for this in writing, but still - where could that first, favorite answer have come from?
posted by mmiddle to Work & Money (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I believe the distinction here is whether you are drawing Social Security for retirement or SSDI/SSI ("disability"). The former does not affect your student loans, whereas the latter does.
posted by saeculorum at 10:02 AM on September 11, 2014

Best answer: I assume you are talking about a federal loan that is serviced by Sallie Mae?

I think your Sallie Mae rep may have been thrown off by you mentioning social security. If you have a documented disability and receive social security benefits for that, your loan can be waived. From the feds:

If you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you can submit a Social Security Administration (SSA) notice of award for SSDI or SSI benefits stating that your next scheduled disability review will be within five to seven years from the date of your most recent SSA disability determination.

I'm not familiar for such a program for retirement, other than maybe an income based arrangement.
posted by Think_Long at 10:03 AM on September 11, 2014

Response by poster: Okay, thanks - that clarifies it. Shoot.
posted by mmiddle at 10:18 AM on September 11, 2014

Check to see if you can opt into income-based repayment or income-contingent repayment.

In fact, call the folks at first. Don't trust the people collecting your money to explain all your options.
posted by vitabellosi at 5:32 PM on September 11, 2014

FYI, Navient is Sallie Mae. The old Sallie Mae (actually formally named SLM Corp.) split into two companies, and the part that services most of the existing loans was renamed Navient.
posted by ccl6yl at 9:42 PM on September 11, 2014

Article in today's NYT about retired people and student loans.
posted by mareli at 4:14 PM on September 12, 2014

And another article.
posted by mareli at 6:10 PM on September 12, 2014

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