The United States Department of Education is now allowing people who have cancer to postpone their student loan payments while they are receiving treatment. Cancer patients were able to start filling out request forms on August 22. Not only can patients suspend their payments but no interest will be added to the balance. Furthermore, patients will not have to make payments for six months after they stop treatment.
Student loan payment deferment has always been available. However, this new option is more flexible than the other ones. People whose cancer returns will be able to apply for deferment again.
In order to be eligible for student loan deferment, the borrower must present a letter from a doctor saying that they have cancer. Patients will be able to defer their payments for 1.5 years. If their treatment lasts longer, then they will have to submit another letter.
According to CNBC, this cancer treatment benefit applies to student loans that were activated on or after September 28, 2018. Over 5,000 people will be eligible for this plan. Congress passed this legislation back in 2017. It was signed into law by President Trump in September 2018.
Rep. Betty McCollum is the one who sponsored the deferment provision. She is happy that cancer patients will be able to request a student loan deferment. She stated that she was inspired to introduce this bill when she saw a veteran struggling to make student loan payments while she was receiving cancer treatments.
Betty said that many people have to decide whether they are going to make their student loan payments or pay for their cancer treatments. She said that the 70,000 young adults who are diagnosed with cancer each year will be able to get relief from student loan debt. They will be able to focus on beating cancer instead of worrying about how they are going to pay their student loans.