Do Military Spouses Get Student Loan Forgiveness?

While there are many student loan forgiveness programs to help service members with their student loan debt, they do not typically extend to military spouses. Whether it be federal student loan debt or private loans, loan forgiveness programs are generally reserved for service members. Unfortunately, “military spouse student loan forgiveness programs” do not currently exist.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program helps individuals working for a qualified employer eliminate their student loan debt. If the individual has made 120 monthly payments with a qualified payment plan, they are eligible to have the remaining balance of their student loan debt forgiven.

There is an extensive list of qualified employers, including government organizations at any level and non profit organizations. Military service is included under the umbrella of government organizations.

Student Loan Debt

Student loan debt builds up and can be very difficult to pay off. Loan forgiveness programs are an excellent opportunity to eliminate the debt. While a military spouse is not eligible for the public service loan forgiveness program, there are other benefits extended to the spouses of active duty service members. Some of these benefits are included in the servicemembers civil relief act and can be extended to eligible military spouses.

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Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

The servicemembers civil relief act has six main benefits and protections outlined by the Department of Justice and is the successor of the soldiers and sailors civil relief act.

  • The six percent interest rate cap
    • The six percent interest rate cap applies to individuals that enter military service and their spouses. During an active duty service member’s period of service and one year after, the amount of interest to be charged on certain financial obligations incurred prior to military service may not exceed six percent per year. While this can apply to student loans, it is different from public service loan forgiveness.
  • Protections against default judgments
    • If the defendant in a civil judicial proceeding is an active duty service member, a default judgment may not be entered against them until an attorney has been appointed to represent the interests of the service member.
  • Non-judicial foreclosures
    • During a service member’s period of active duty service and one year after, a creditor cannot complete non-judicial foreclosure proceedings. The creditor must get a court order to foreclose.
  • Installment contracts and repossessions
    • If a service member has made at least one installment payment or placed a deposit on a vehicle, it cannot be repossessed during the borrower’s period of military service.
  • Residential lease terminations
    • This benefit is available to individuals in active duty military service that have received permanent change of station order or deployment orders for a period of at least 90 days. As a result, this benefit is only available during a service member’s period of active duty.
  • Enforcement of storage liens
    • During an individual’s period of active duty military service and 90 days thereafter, a person holding a lien on their property may not enforce it.

Use the SCRACVS to verify military service

Landlords, property managers and motor vehicle lessors may not always know which of their clients are in the military and which are not. Regardless, military members are guaranteed SCRA protections. Therefore, it is imperative to check military status before beginning any legal action against your renter. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification service is the best place to verify military status.

Many lenders, banks, landlords, property managers and motor vehicle lessors use the SCRACVS to check the military status of their renters and customers. It is quick, easy, and cost effective — we even offer batch discounts for large-volume searches. Results are usually delivered within 24 hours. SCRACVS can also provide live customer support to answer your questions.

Stay safe and avoid fines and penalties for violating the SCRA by using the SCRACVS for all your military verifications.

Attorney Roy Kaufmann serves as the Director of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service, located in Washington, D.C. As a recognized authority on the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Mr. Kaufmann has published hundreds of articles and hosted many webinars. His teachings help law firms and businesses to remain compliant with the SCRA rules and regulations so as to avoid costly fines.