1. Patients launch $1.27 million crowdfunding campaign for ME/CFS gut microbiome study.
    Check out the website, Facebook and Twitter. Join in donate and spread the word!
Join the National PR Campaign for ME: Power to the Patient (P2tP)
Have you had enough of all the neglect and abuse of ME/CFS patients? Gabby Klein says now is the time for a National PR Campaign for ME/CFS to impress a change. Join the Patient Revolution to restore power to ME patients ...
Discuss the article on the Forums.

help talking to Dr re student loan forgiveness forms

Discussion in 'Finances, Work, and Disability' started by Tammie, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. Tammie

    Tammie Senior Member

    Messages:
    760
    Likes:
    9
    Woodridge, IL
    I have an appt with my Dr next week, and I have to try to convince him to fill out forms for student loan forgiveness. I took out the loans fully expecting to be able to work and pay them back, and that is just not happening. There are not many options re loans either. You cannot include them in bankruptcy, you can only defer them for a few yrs (& I have been doing that), and even the lowest income based payment plan is far beyond what I could manage.

    And, apparently since our brilliant govt has been screwing around with SS for so long and are now running out of money, they are cracking down on loans by taking the money out of SS payments. Considering that what I am currently getting does not even cover the most basic living expenses, there is no way that I can take anything out of it to pay for loans. For whatever reason, the loan people do not consider the fact that I am on disability enough proof that I am unable to work either. (like it's easy to get SSDI!)

    So, I have to figure out how to get my Dr to fill out the forms (and considering that he didn't even want to sign something for me to get a permanent disabled parking permit, this is not going to be easy....he did finally sign it, but he kept saying that there is no reason to believe that this is permanent!), and not only that but I have to figure out what to have him put on the forms that will convince the loan people that I absolutely cannot work at all whatsoever.

    The forms say quite clearly all over the place, "totally and permanently disabled". They do have a three yr conditional discharge, though. So after the Dr fills out the forms, you cannot work at all for three yrs and then they forgive the loans. If even they consider three yrs permanent, and I have already been sick for almost 6, of which the last couple I have been almost housebound and barely managing to take care of myself, you would think the Dr would get that I should be considered disabled.

    I think that he just doesn't want me to give up hope that things may someday improve, and I haven't, but given that there is a very good possibility that they won't improve, and given that I am completely unable to work rt now, I am totally screwed if he does not fill these out and if they are not considered sufficient.

    So, any ideas of what to put on the forms and/or how to get him to fill them out would be really helpful.
     
  2. Michelle

    Michelle Decennial ME/CFS patient

    Messages:
    104
    Likes:
    10
    Portland, OR
    I need to do this also and could use any advice anyone has to offer as well!

    I've been dragging my feet at filling out the paperwork since, one, I'm on SSI and my benefits can't be garnished anyway. But also because I can't say this is a permanent condition. However, I've noticed that in the small print, it's not just for conditions that are permanent but also for those that are "indefinite." And that does indeed describe my condition (haven't worked in 8 1/2 years or been to school in 5).

    I'm trying to put together more info on ME/CFS in general for my doctor, as well as research (the little that has been done) suggesting that few people do fully recover from this disease. I'm too tired to hunt through my bookmarks at the moment, but when I find those citations again, I'll post them here.
     
  3. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,308
    Likes:
    5,633
  4. Lisa

    Lisa Senior Member

    Messages:
    446
    Likes:
    15
    Western Washington
    Hi Michelle! :Retro smile:
    I wrote up a pretty detailed description of the process my partner and I went through to get our loans successfully discharged last year. I'm just going to cut/paste it over here from the other thread and save some energy tonight.

    If anyone has any questions, feel free to contact me via the forum pm system - my health has been pretty poor lately and its hard to know when I'll make it back to this thread.

    Also Michelle, you might want to double check they can not garnish your income - one of those social security incomes (either SSI or SSD) is for sure able to be garnished if a loan is defaulted on. My mom had them taking $50/month from her disability check for student loans that were 20 years old.

    Good luck to both of you in this process! Lisa :Retro smile:

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Quoted from: http://www.forums.aboutmecfs.org/sh...ssed-as-a-result&p=84461&viewfull=1#post84461

    Hi Tammie :)

    My partner and I have had our loans discharged for permanent and total disability and it was a real PITA to have done, even with a very sympathetic doctor.

    First and most important, vital even. Don't let your loan payments lapse for any reason. Get the temp waver for disability, they are very easy and can usually be done over the internet with minimal work. It was even suggested to us that we borrow money to make the payments if we had to or let rent be missed, because it was that important to not miss any payments while trying for this discharge.

    If your loans have ever gone into forbearance then they will not let you discharge them through this program. I was never told this till the discharge was nearly through... five years after starting it. As the very final stage of discharging them they look at your past income and if you've ever missed a payment. Should be something they do at the beginning, see if your loan even qualifies. Now, if you have gone into forbearance at some point then make sure its not just a Washington State thing that they were telling me about because it is always possible.

    I hate to be the gloom person here, but its super tough to get them discharged for CFS type conditions. Mine were for CFS and MCS, I think it was the MCS that finally made it happen due to the restrictions it put on working conditions. Many letters from my doctor, sent in the same stuff that I used for SSDI, still more letters and time passing. I think partly what also helped was me being totally disabled for so long - they were having a hard time saying it wasn't permanent after a total of 7+ years.

    There are lawyers who can help with this stuff and I've no doubt it would have cut through the process, but the ones I was referred to wanted about $1000-1500 to get it done. If you think you might need a lawyer then do it early instead of late, I was $800+ into trying to do it myself before I started looking into a lawyer and got really lucky that the last doctor letter did the trick.

    You'll have to have a letter that goes way beyond the information the forms are asking for. Its like that stuff doesn't even count and no matter how well the forms are filled out, they'll usually want more. Its a ridiculous amount of information you have to provide to make this happen.

    I'd really recommend finding a doctor who is willing to write the letters. I only say this because of the way DoEd (Department of Education) try to cut you out of the loop. My doctor's office was horrible about getting faxes from them. Drove me nuts because they have 'rules' that won't allow the DoEd to send me the info to give to my doctor. Also wouldn't mail the paperwork, had to be faxed. I personally think it was all a lot of hooey but could never prove it.

    You'll speak to a different person there nearly every time you call and each one will give you different information. Even managers do this.

    What they really need:

    A hugely itemized list if each and everyone one of the reasons you can not work and why it is such way. For example: I can not be around formaldehyde or phenols which means I can not be around any carpeting, cabinetry, plywood used for building materials in the structure I would work in, new fabrics (such as on chairs). I also can not be around people wearing perfume, with laundry soap residue in clothing, dryer sheets. I can not be around car exhaust, pest control products, recently remodeled buildings, recent paint, etc. I can not be around printed material of any kind for longer than a minute.

    Then with CFS for me: It limits drastically what I could do from my own home environment. I can not sit up for extended periods of time exceeding 'fill in the blank' minutes, can not stand for x time, can not walk for x time, can not drive, can not be active for more than x time.

    And examples even. My daily energy is often so low I only shower once every x days. I wear the same clothes x days in a row because I'm too tired to do laundry. etc.

    Include all medications you take and why, including supplements.

    Write about the pain and how it prohibits things or PEM.

    Basically, if you're going to be typing up something for your doc to sign then make it sound like you are sitting down and itemizing every last bit of poor health, like your life depends on the length and detail of the list.

    Send in all test results that can back things up. Include them in the list of why you can not work. Such as even low normal test results that back up what you are saying.

    Bury them under a mountain of detail as to how hard life is for you and why this makes it impossible for you to work with lots of stating that it is a permanent condition.

    That's pretty much all I can think of right now. It really is a very hard thing to do when we don't have any definitive testing for CFS that is accepted by them. If you have any questions you are welcome to send me a PM.

    Best of luck! Lisa :)

    p.s. Keep calling them. I forgot about that till I nearly posted this. They will not tell you if they decline your case or if they need more info. You will only ever hear from them if they are granting the discharge, at that point they need additional info straight from you so they have to contact you. Keep calling every 3 months and finding out what is going on. If they decline you due to a lack of sufficient evidence, then just file again for the temp discharge (you get another 3 years you can do it because it acts as though its a new loan when they decline you) and keep sending them information.

    We had our case declined and then sent more and still more info until they finally gave up. They will drag it out as long as they can, you just have to hang in there longer than they do. It is worth it, I feel a great relief not having that hanging over my head. Its not a quick fix but it is a permanent one.
     
  5. Michelle

    Michelle Decennial ME/CFS patient

    Messages:
    104
    Likes:
    10
    Portland, OR
    Lisa,

    Thanks so much for sharing how you did it! I'm glad you don't have to worry about it anymore.

    So how does one actually NOT have to get a forebearance if you're not working? I've had so many I think I've run out, not to mention I just found out I'm now in default as I have no concept of time and no memory to keep track of it with anyway. I didn't apply for a discharge initially because, well, you know, I thought I'd get better (as did Social Security when they first granted me SSI; when it came time to review my case five years later, they didn't even bother as it was so obvious I'm not). Plus I had no idea what evidence to give them when it came to ME/CFS, even though I did manage to get SSI. Like you, as I haven't worked for over 8 years now -- and I'm actually sicker than I was when I finally dropped out of grad school 5 years ago -- it's fair to say I'm not going to be returning to work anytime soon.

    I do know I'm safe from garnishment because SSI is a form of welfare and they cannot garnish welfare benefits. If I was on SSDI they could garnish away. Frankly, I'm too sick to do much of what you suggested (it's all I can do to keep up with paperwork for HUD, Medicaid, Food Stamps, etc.). And much too poor to hire a lawyer, though I might call Legal Aid as they were the ones who represented me for my SSI case.

    As always, justice is unavailable to those in most need of it.
     
  6. Lisa

    Lisa Senior Member

    Messages:
    446
    Likes:
    15
    Western Washington
    Hi Michelle!

    I fully agree that justice (and medical treatment) are not available to those who really need it. Don't even get me started on all the times the legal system has fallen down on the job since I became ill. :Retro mad:

    I think the only way I made it through the crazy long process with the loans was by having someone else (my partner) who helped me to keep on top of what was going on. He helped fill out much of the paperwork and somehow between the two of us working together we both managed to succeed.

    Definitely call legal aid, never know if they can help till you try!

    Awesome your money is safe, sounds familiar that part of what my mom received each month was SSDI.

    One large benefit to this process is that it is not very time sensitive. We'd sometimes go for three or four months without even remembering about the cases (sometimes even six or more) but when we called DoEd they were patiently doing nothing at all on our case. Ok, sarcasm aside - they take months to do their thing and then don't really care how long you take to find out and do your thing, its no difference to them unless you've been approved - which at that point its pretty easy to remember to finish filling out some forms. lol

    Best of luck with finding some help and/or making your own case! Lisa :Retro smile:
     
  7. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member

    Messages:
    627
    Likes:
    104
    England
    I've got a similar problem in the UK

    took out student loans 95-97 had to leave course in 97 due to being incapable of continuing - went on benefits - managed to get a couple of deferals - however moved in 2000 and completely forgot about it (short term memory issues) - a year or so later I found some loan papaerwork and contacted them and was told deferals no longer possible despite the fact I had been on IB since leaving course

    so now I have them chasing me for 4.5k despite the fact that I have never met the quaifying conditions for repayment (earnign over 14k a year) and the fact I havent worked since I took out the loan due to ill health

    I consider my chances of getting my doctor to fill in a not able to work for 5 years letter to be non existant - it took her 7 years to decide I wasnt depressed and tbh that was simply because she was out of options and still wont discuss ME at all (she diagnosed it as PVFS) - so she's unlikely to state in writing she thinks I wont be able to work at all for 5 years

    however in all this time despite my suggestions that they take me to court and allow a judge to decide if or what I should pay them they still havent
     
  8. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,308
    Likes:
    5,633
    @ Wonko? How can they be chasing you for repayment if you've never crossed the qualifying level of income?

    I've just forgotten about my student loans (13k *gulp*) and not worried about it as it's not likely to be an issue until I recover. Why do they think they can hassle you?
     
  9. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member

    Messages:
    627
    Likes:
    104
    England
    because I missed a deferment they deemed me to be earning and as they didnt have any other info they assessed me at max repayment - and once you are a year late with a deferment you lose the option to defer - so so they tell me - so not only did I have arrears accumulate over that year but couldnt stop them from continueing

    as far as I am concerned I owe them nothing - apart from possibly the original loan - as I undertook a loan which said that I wouldnt have to repay unless my income went above a threshold (which it hasnt) and which said if I was medically incapable of working for 5 years it would be written off (which I can prove I have been medically incapable of working for over double this time)

    their insistence on a letter/form from my doctor which states what no one can with 100% certainty - that I will be incapable of work for 5 years or more in the future - rather than looking at what has actually occured - ie hypothosis rather than fact - is annoying

    I was until I changed my tel numbers gettign upto 22 calls a day from them - from 7am till 10pm - from 3 different companies they appointed - and they have now appointed another 1 to talk to me - via a home visit - as they are debt collectors (Fieldcall Ltd.) they wont be getting in

    I've told them to take me to court on at least 2 occassions but they wont (or havent so far) as I am fairly sure a judge will strike off the debt

    so if you have a student loan do not miss a deferment - do not move - or they will charge you max repayments -a s you cant proove income from an employer - and set the hounds on you
     
  10. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,308
    Likes:
    5,633
    That sounds outrageous.

    I've never even needed to request a deferment. I've just ignored their letters and left them to it, and it seems to have worked out okay for me. You shouldn't need to be endlessly requesting deferement when you're not earning enough to qualify for repayment.

    The people I know who have requested deferments have only done so after they've earned over 15k.

    I would get in contact with the Citizens Advice Beaurea. I don't really know much about this, but it sounds like they're trying to screw you over.

    Good luck with it all.
     
  11. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member

    Messages:
    627
    Likes:
    104
    England
    thanks Esther

    you might not want to look at
    http://www.honoursstudentloans.co.uk/Default.aspx
    then

    (whether it's any help would depend on how long it is since you left your course - if it's longer than 15 months........)

    and it seems they have effectively removed the option to cancel the loan - I'd need to get a doctor to say I can never, ever, ever work again now - cant see any UK doctor writing that unless they are actually turnign off the life support machine themselves
     
  12. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,308
    Likes:
    5,633
  13. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member

    Messages:
    627
    Likes:
    104
    England
    neither was I originally - loan got transfered/sold in 99 (I think)

    but if your with the slc your probably on the new style loans which afaik are a little friendlier

    thanks for the support anyway - and appologies to the OP if this looks like a HJ - it wasnt meant to be
     
  14. helsbells

    helsbells Senior Member

    Messages:
    297
    Likes:
    8
    UK
    I am in the UK and haven't worked since the mid nineties but still have to send in my deferment notice every year. The one year THEY lost my paperwork they took a months repayment from my account - it was sorted in the end but they were very tedious to deal with but the onus is on you to keep an eye on things. Sorry Wonko but that sounds like a real bummer on top of everything else, it must be really frustrating - i can't even get them to do a three year defferment which i believe with medical evidence you used to be able to get at one time. Precisely for the same memory problems it would be really useful to not have to worry about it every year but they just consistently ignore my letters and requests.
     
  15. Tammie

    Tammie Senior Member

    Messages:
    760
    Likes:
    9
    Woodridge, IL
    Sounds frustrating, but at least you can cont to defer.....here there is a 3 yr limit -once that's over, no more deferrals
     
  16. judderwocky

    judderwocky Senior Member

    Messages:
    327
    Likes:
    3
    thank you soo much bringing this up. i have this problem as well. Im not on ss or disability yet, but my parents are going to help me find a lawyer. I just don't know where to start though... i dont' have a regular care physician cuz i ran out of medical insurance, everything has to be out of pocked, any advice you could give about things you went through with this would be appreciated

    honestly the student loans are something im most embarrassed about with all this... having an illness that half my family believes isn't even real , on top of the loans... ACK it makes me not even want to talk to the people i went to school with
     
  17. helsbells

    helsbells Senior Member

    Messages:
    297
    Likes:
    8
    UK
    No quite Tammie, really I was just making the point to the Uk posters that you have to keep your eye on things, i think they were taken over or something, there admin is in disaray with a lot of applications for loans being delayed and stories of students going to uni without their loans even having come through. The onus is on you to make sure they have recieved your deferral paperwork and really just to say sorry to Wonko as that all sounded like a massive pain. All things considered your system sounds way worse taking money out of benefit payments when you are off sick sounds really low :-(
     

See more popular forum discussions.

Share This Page