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Student Loan and Bankruptcy Law in Chicago: Your Top
FAQs Answered by Our Attorneys

What is the current status of federal student loan forgiveness initiatives?

The Biden Administration’s recent extension of the student loan consolidation deadline, moving it from December 31, 2023, to April 30, 2024, marks a groundbreaking effort to address the substantial financial challenges faced by millions of Americans. This executive order has already led to the forgiveness of billions of dollars in student loans for numerous individuals. The overarching goal is to provide relief to the 43.5 million Americans grappling with an overwhelming $1.75 trillion in student loan debt. Unsure how to proceed? Let’s connect.

Subsidized loans: The government pays the interest on these loans while the student is in school, during the grace period, and during deferment periods.

Unsubsidized loans: Interest begins accruing on these loans as soon as they are disbursed, and students are responsible for paying all interest accrued.

Many. The latest estimates agree that over half of all students leave school with some amount of debt. (Forbes)

Younger people naturally hold the highest percentage of student loan debt. However, plenty of people carry debt into their middle age and beyond. Currently, borrowers ages 35 to 49 owe more than $620 billion in student loans.

The FAFSA is a form that students must fill out annually to determine their eligibility for federal financial aid, including grants, work-study, and loans. Many colleges and states also use the FAFSA to determine eligibility for institutional and state financial aid programs.

(This varies and is constantly changing. Book a consultation to see how the following info relates to your current situation).

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF): This program forgives the remaining balance on federal Direct Loans after the borrower has made 120 qualifying monthly payments while working full-time for a qualifying employer in public service.

Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Forgiveness: Borrowers on income-driven repayment plans may have any remaining balance forgiven after 20 or 25 years of qualifying payments, depending on the plan.

Yes, borrowers may be able to deduct up to $2,500 in student loan interest paid annually from their taxable income, subject to income limits and other eligibility criteria.

Yes, student loans are considered installment loans and can impact your credit score based on factors such as payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, new credit, and credit mix.

If, after meeting with an attorney at Kaplan Law Firm, LLC, it is determined that you do not have an equity position in your home that exceeds the Illinois statutory exemptions, you will be able to keep your home in a Chapter 7, as long as you continue to be current on your monthly mortgage payments.

Yes, as long as you continue to have full coverage car insurance and make your monthly car payment on time, and your equity does not exceed the Illinois exemptions.

A discharge is a court order that says you do not have to repay your debts, but there are a number of exceptions. Debts which may not be discharged in your Chapter 7 case include, most taxes, child support, alimony, and student loans; court ordered fines and restitution; debts obtained through fraud or deception; and personal injury debts caused by driving while intoxicated or taking drugs. Your discharge may be denied entirely if you destroy or conceal property; destroy, conceal or falsify records; or make a false oath. Creditors can not ask you to pay any debts which have been discharged. You can only receive a Chapter 7 discharge once every 8 years.

You may add creditors at any time prior to the discharge order being entered in your case, however there will usually be a fee for doing so, depending on when you need to add the creditor to your case, and court costs charged by the Bankruptcy Court Clerk’s Office.

YES. Under the Bankruptcy Code, you are required to list ALL of your creditors (bills), whether you wish to pay them or not.

You will generally receive your discharge 3-4 months after your meeting of creditors. The whole point of filing a Chapter 7 is to get what is known as your “discharge”. The discharge is the court order that says that all of the debts that you have listed in your Chapter 7 are discharged, that you are no longer legally responsible for them and that you are entitled to a fresh start.

You can correct errors on your credit report by sending a letter to the Credit Bureau with a description of the error, and a request to correct the error. The Credit Bureau must correct your report within 30 days or explain why the report is correct. You are entitled to place a written statement as part of your file. The Federal Trade Commission regulates all 3 credit bureaus. The record of bankruptcy filing remains in the credit bureau for 10 years.

After you file your petition, a creditor may ask you to reaffirm a certain debt or you may seek to do so on your own. Reaffirming a debt means that you sign and file with the court a legally enforceable document, which states that you promise to repay all or a portion of the debt that may otherwise have been discharged in your bankruptcy case. Reaffirmation agreements must generally be filed with the court within 60 days after the first meeting of creditors.

Each project’s scope is different meaning there are no fixed costs. We work with you to develop a payment plan that best suits your financial needs.

Payment plans are typically available for Chapter 7 or 13 attorneys fees. One of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys can examine your financial situation and discuss your options with you, and determine whether you are eligible to file and under which Chapter.

You may file a Chapter 7 once every 8 years. However, if you find yourself in financial trouble after you get your Chapter 7 discharge, you may be eligible to file a Chapter 13. Our office can represent you in your Chapter 13 as well.

The bankruptcy system is still firmly in place to allow people who are in trouble financially to get a fresh start. Sometimes, this is achieved through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy where most debts are discharged, and sometimes this is achieved through a Chapter 13 repayment plan, where part or all of your debts are repaid with future earnings over a 3 to 5 year period. One of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys can examine your financial situation and discuss alternatives with you, and determine whether you are eligible to file and under which Chapter.

Filing bankruptcy on your own is extremely risky. You may unknowingly submit incomplete information, you may miss a deadline, you may not claim all property as exempt to which you are entitled, or you may attempt to file under the wrong chapter. As a result of not completely adhering to or understanding the law and procedures, your case could be dismissed without debts being discharged.