MOHELA and Performant Are Telling Me Different Things But Garnished My Wages


Hi, Steve. I need your help!

There are 3 players in this situation:
Missouri Department of Education
MOHELA (loan issuer)
Performant (collection agency)

I defaulted on a student loan that was originally issued by MOHELA. I got a letter at the end of November from the MO Dept of Ed saying I needed to work out a payment plan or they’d garnish my wages. So I called them. I talked to someone named Kelsey, and she said, “Oh, your loan is through MOHELA. You need to call them.” So I did. And I set up payments. I was assured all was well.

It was not.

A couple of weeks ago, I got a letter from my employer saying they had received a writ of continuing garnishment and 15% of my pay would be withheld blah blah blah. So I called the MO Dept of Ed and told them what happened, and they were like, “Nope, sorry, you need to talk to Performant.”

I had gotten a couple of letters from Performant, but they didn’t say anything about garnishment, which is why I never called them. Plus, the letter I DID receive about garnishment was from the MO Dept of Ed and made no reference to Performant.

So now my wages are being garnished even though I made an effort to set up payments in order to avoid garnishment. I’m in the loan rehabilitation program, but I’d really like to get the garnishment lifted sooner rather than later.

Is there anyone I can talk to about the fact that the MO Dept of Ed sent me to the wrong place to work out payments? Can they be held responsible for any wrongdoing? I made an effort to keep myself out of garnishment, and because Kelsey at the good ol’ MO Dept of Ed told me to call the wrong place, I’m being garnished.



Dear Alea,

It sounds to me like the old problem of an account getting shifted around while all of this was going on.

Some creditors have the policy that you can only talk to the collection entity who is currently assigned the account. This leads to a lot of finger pointing and delay while this takes place.

What I’m most interested in here is if this was some sort of administrative wage garnishment or they actually sued you over the past debt.

Anyway, I think the prudent plan of action to take at this point is for you to contact a lawyer who is licensed in your state who handles consumer issues. If this was not an administrative wage garnishment then you might be able to unwind this mess and use the suit as an opportunity to negotiate a settlement. Other attorneys do this successfully. Look at these guys as an example.

If this was a federal student loan then I would quickly look at rehabilitating your loan to stop the garnishment. You should read The Easiest Way to Stop a Student Loan Wage Garnishment – Loan Rehabilitation.

The good news if you already in rehab is after five payments of the rehab payment, the garnishment will be stopped.

While the situation is stressful and unfortunate, I can see how this could have fallen through the cracks during a transfer.

Keep in mind, to go into default you have to be more than 270 days past due.

Steve Rhode
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