Student Loan Forgiveness Application: Don’t Fall for Scams
November 1, 2022
On the evening of Friday October 14, a beta version of the student debt relief application went live on studentaid.gov, with 22 million borrowers applying just in the first week. The White House has issued a warning to beware of scams, as this is a perfect opportunity for a cybercriminal to take advantage of an unsuspecting borrower looking for relief. Coming out of cybersecurity month, Webster First also wants to make sure your money and your personal information are protected. The White House has stressed that you will never have to pay to apply for debt relief. If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from a loan servicing company, make sure it’s a legitimate company that works with the Department of Education or your loan provider. If anyone asks you for payment, it is not legitimate.
To avoid identity theft, make sure you are only applying at the official website, studentaid.gov. If it is anything else, do not type in your personal information. Read the Department of Education’s scam resource webpage for more important information on how to protect yourself from fraud. We want to remind you that for additional protection, Webster First debit card holders can enroll in Mastercard’s ID Theft Protection™ program at no extra cost.
Today, November 1, the application officially came out of its beta testing mode. If you submitted your info during the beta mode period, it will still be received and processed as normal. If you have not applied yet, you can read about the qualifications on the Federal Student Aid website.
Other important things to know:
- The debt forgiveness application deadline is December 31, 2022. If you see an application online after that date, it is most likely a scam.
- The payment pause will end on January 1, 2023.
- If you have made payments during the payment pause, you won’t automatically receive forgiveness. You can also request that money back from your loan servicer. This is only recommended for people who have paid their loan balance down to less than $10,000 (or $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients). For example: if you started with $10,500 in debt and paid it down to $8,000 during the payment pause, you can request $2000 back so that the full $10,000 will be forgiven.
- If the Department of Education reaches out to you to request proof of income, the deadline to return this is March 31, 2024. Again, take all the precautions to make sure this request is legitimate.
- The loan forgiveness will not be taxed on a federal level, but may be taxed by certain states. At this time, Minnesota, Indiana, North Carolina, and Mississippi have decided to tax the loan forgiveness as income.
- It is not yet known when the debt relief will be issued to borrowers as there are some challenges against it. According to TIME, legal challenges could continue for months, but experts are skeptical that these cases will hold water. Be sure to follow the news to stay informed.
You can read the full details of President Biden’s three-part student debt relief plan at whitehouse.gov.