Public Service Loan Forgiveness is a topic that brings about various emotions. For the ones that are going through the grueling 10 year process (120 payments) feelings of anxiety, and worry often top the list. Who can blame them, the PSLF program is understaffed and very unorganized and I mean it is a mess…just like most government programs.
2019 brings about new legislation if we want to call it that. I believe it is the old legislation just modified to bring back up the issue of cutting this from the government budget. Fortunately, history tends to repeat itself, if change does occur those currently utilizing the PSLF would most likely be grandfathered in. I am not 100% sure if that is the case, but if I was a betting man, I would go all in. I would also go out on a limb to say interest will not be capitalized if this program does goes away.
In 2019, just like 2018 and years before you must keep careful records of every payment…More than just careful, but meticulous records that are pristine. Loan companies can not be trusted to be a custodian of this information. Look at the most recent indictment of Navient. They were advising individuals on strategies that actually made them pay more interest. Be prepared to have your own set of records, like you were preparing for a court case to defend your 120 payments. If you are transitioning loans to another provider please make sure to keep detail records of any payments that qualified towards the PSLF. This is a content headache to clean up after the fact.
Certifying early and often, though not required is best practice on keeping on top of this. Having these verifying forms at hands reach helps develop your case just in the circumstance they get rid of this program. With the growing demand it is becoming more difficult to get actual recounts in the same fiscal year, let alone in the next 2 years based on demand of individuals nearing full forgiveness.
In the past negative news about PSLF has rattled the faith of individuals. If you are in the program, stay the course…unless it no longer makes since for you financially. Revisiting your decision as your income changes or your career path switches is always a good choice. Just don’t make any sudden and ill-advise changes without consulting outside counsel or really thinking about the lasting impacts.
Last but not least, you are not alone in how you feel. It takes a long time to get anything done with the PSLF. The government is understaffed, unorganized, and at the end of the day it comes down to you and/or your advisors due diligence to help ease this situation. Remember hundred of thousands of dollars are on the line. Considered it additional pay for your hard work. Just like when you were in medical school, this too will pass, all you have to do is keep the course. For the non-doctor spouses that are doing the heavy lifting, kudos to you. This type of work is instrumental in helping your spouse bounce these pesky student loans.