February 19, 2020


There are several types of deferments available to federal student loans:

Economic hardship deferments – this is the most common type of deferment.  It is given in one year increments, for a maximum of 3 years.  You can qualify by:

  • presenting proof that you have received an economic hardship deferment from another federal student loan program
  • showing that you receive federal or state public assistance
  • documenting that you are a Peace Corps volunteer
  • documenting that you are a “low income earner” – based on the federal minimum wage or 150% of federal poverty level for your family size

Unemployment deferment – this can last up to 36 months.  You must show proof:

  • that you have registered with a public or private employment agency within 50 miles of your home and are seeking work
  • you have documentation showing that you are eligible for unemployment benefits.

Military deferment – there is no limit on the length of this deferment.  It terminates 180 days after you are demobilized.  You can qualify if:

  • you are on active duty or with the National Guard during a war or other operation
  • you are serving on active duty or with the National Guard during a national emergency

Post-Active Duty deferment – this can last for 13 months after active military duty.  It available to soldiers in the National Guard, on reserve or who are retired.

PLUS loan deferment – PLUS loans generally do not provide for any automatic grace period after the student graduates.  A PLUS deferment allows for a 6 month deferment.

Perkins loan deferment – this defers payments on Perkins loans for borrowers who are:

  • in school
  • teaching in certain schools
  • teaching for Head Start
  • full time police or corrections officers
  • serving in the military
  • serving in the Peace Corps
  • unemployed (same standard as for Direct Loan)
  • facing economic hardship (same standard as for Direct Loan)
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Jonathan Ginsberg

Jonathan Ginsberg has served the Atlanta area community as a personal bankruptcy and student loan debt management lawyer for over 25 years. Contact Jonathan for straight answers to difficult debt problems.