Should the Federal Government Bail out Student Loan Holders – Yes

I feel betrayed. I did all the right things. I went to college, took out my student loans, worked my butt off and got a 3.8 GPA. I took Business as a major, and although I was able to get a job in my field, the pay is terrible, the hours were long, and I had to move state-to-state every year.

Finances have been depressing. To complicate matters, my two sons have a disability and need to be home-schooled; unfortunately, they have been denied disability so far. No help there. My husband home-schools them while I work. I can’t afford health insurance; luckily my two boys are insured by the State of Ohio. I finally broke down and applied for food stamps, but they are giving me a rough time because Dan isn’t working. The fact that we have two kids with Autism Spectrum is irrelevant to my caseworker.

For years we fought to try and pay student loans. We had to defer them when we went down to one income. Unfortunately, you are only allowed to defer them a few times, definitely not long enough to get the boys to 18 years old. One of the student loan companies kept denying that we sent them the deferment application, even though I sent it certified mail. They intentionally defaulted it and when we complained to the U.S. Department of Education they told us that student loan companies often intentionally default student loans.

Now we were trying to work with the collection agency the Department of Education uses. My husband and I figured that we could probably scrape $100 a month if we both donated plasma once a week. We are currently without a car, but living in a city we figured we could continue to do without. The collection agency agreed that if we made a $100 payment a month it would keep the loan out of default. Great, problem solved, except that 2 days later they called and said that $100 a month wasn’t enough so we needed to send $330 a month instead.

I clear approximately $1700 a month. I can’t pay $330 a month, so now they are going to take my tax refund and 15% of my check. I can’t afford a lawyer; I called legal aid to see if I could file bankruptcy, but they won’t be able to see me for 2 months. I was told that even through Legal Aid filing chapter 7 will cost $500. I guess we will save our plasma center money for that instead.

Talking with the Department of Education has confirmed my worst fear: Bankruptcy does not cover student loans. I will be losing 15% of my paycheck soon.

I am considering just closing down and giving up. I am barely able to feed my kids now, and my son Luke has been stuck wearing a pair of women’s sneakers because I haven’t had the money to get him new shoes. The irony is that if we had declared bankrupcy years ago the student loans may have been covered. Shame on us for trying to do the right thing.

I may sound bitter, but no one will even work with us. I am willing to pay the interest until the boys are 18, (One is now 8, one is 11). After they are old enough to be on their own, my husband and I plan on both working with his income paying off our loans. We could continue to live on my income alone, we had been for years.

If I start losing 15% of my paycheck we may be better off just going on Welfare. Sadly, this is true. The current Welfare system draws a fine line between getting help and being cut off. I work with many people that have lost $300-$400 in benifits a month because they got a quarter an hour raise. What is the point of working anymore?

Our government is giving billions away to poorly-managed companies, but what about the struggling people? The government is overseas building up Iraq while we can’t even feed our kids here in the USA. If I, and the thousands like me fail, what will become of our society? The least the Department of Education could do is work at making reasonable payment arrangements. Many of my friends in similar situations to my default are of the mindset that if you are not willing to accept a reasonable monthly payment, then I’m not sending anything at all. So instead of getting some of the student loan money back, they are not getting any of it back. That doesn’t make sense. “Charity begins at home,” right?