So you've been out of school a few years, struggling with your bills and seriously considering deferring payment on your student loans until you can get your head above water. What options are available to you?
Before deciding to delay your student loan payments, consider what this might mean for your long-term financial future. While offering temporary relief, student loan deferment can result in having your loans trail after you like a ball and chain for a lot longer than is financially palatable. After all, there's nothing worse than paying off a student loan from a degree you earned years or even decades ago. Also, deferring your student debt can set a dangerous precedent for other aspects of your debt management: taking a cavalier approach to one kind of debt may tempt you to do the same with others.
Still, if you've crunched the numbers in your monthly budget and decided you want to call a temporary halt to your monthly student loan payments, you do have some options. Here is a list of circumstances where you may qualify for student loan deferment:
Another option available to you is getting forbearance on your loans. This isn't quite the same as deferment: forbearance is when your lender allows you to stop making payments for a set amount of time. The difference between deferment and forbearance is that with the latter your interest on the debt continues to accrue during the forbearance period, so this is not the wisest choice to make for your long-term financial health.
Another thing to keep in mind: Getting a deferment or forbearance does not lock in your interest rate (this is especially true if you have a Stafford loan), so when you eventually start back on your debts again, your monthly payment may increase.