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Can My Wages Be Garnished For a Student Loan?

08/19/2014 04:51pm ET | Updated October 19, 2014
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Dear Steve,

My private student loan from Chase went into default. I worked part-time just above minimum wage while in school. When I tried to get further deferrment they told me I did not make enough payments to qualify. I continued to make payments, though under the minimum.

I never received a call from the new department concerning this 3rd party debt collection. When I called they actually had to get a senior specialist because the loan did not automatically transfer as it should have. Now that the loan is located, they (3rd party collector) are now saying that I owe the entire 12k loan now or 10% down plus 400 per month repayment. This unaffordable, especially with my upcoming federal loans that will be due soon.

I cannot afford the repayment option offered to me by my private student loan lender. I am very concerned about wage garnishment and fees associated with fighting this. I am in PA, what can they do in terms of debt collection and what can I do to get rid of this debt?

Inez

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Dear Inez,

It is my understanding that even if you were to be sued over the private student loans in Pennsylvania your wages could not be garnished. You would of course need to speak with an attorney licensed in Pennsylvania to check this out.

Your primary focus is going to have to be the federal student loans. But the good news is is sounds as if you'd qualify for one of the reduced payment income contingent repayment plans. Your payment on the federal loans would then be as low as $0 per month. For more information on this, see this article.

So depending on the outcome of how you tackle the federal student loans it might just be you can't afford to enter any payment arrangement with the private lender. In that case you'd fall behind, they will attempt to collect and then eventually the statute of limitations would expire and the private student loans could be discharged in bankruptcy.

You might want to discuss your situation for free with a local bankruptcy attorney. To find one, click here.

Steve

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