My Son Can’t Afford the Parent PLUS Loan I Try to Pay on Social Security


Dear Steve,

I signed for 4 Navient Parent Plus loans for my son over 10 years ago, he is now living in a camper with no income and I am 72 years old and only get below poverty SS checks now.

I don’t pay anything on my own student loans because of my Income-Contingent plan with another loan company.

I pay $0 per month due to my lack of any taxable income and my low SS income.

Navient has taken my son off the Disaster Forbearance as of this month (Feb. 2022) and the loans have increased substantially in a short time.

I have had no contact with Navient for a long time. My son has not contacted them recently and is barely surviving where he lives with no job opportunities in the area he’s in.

What should I do? I don’t think my son is going to do anything at this point. He’s given up.

Should I call Navient and explain (one more time) that I have no taxable income and only “below the poverty level” SS or ??? My credit score is already dropping with the increase in the loan payments now due.



Dear Jean,

There are a number of issues here that concern me, but I have solutions.

A point many overlook about the Parent PLUS loans is they are not the financial responsibility of the student, but the parent. You and your son may have come to an understanding that he was going to make these payments, but he doesn’t have to. He’s only on the hook to you, not the Department of Education.

Given your situation, putting these loans on an Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) plan is the easiest and best logical option.

It concerns me that you say you are on an ICR “with another loan company.”

There is only one loan company involved here, the Department of Education. Navient is the servicer of the loans and your loan may have been transferred to another servicer, but that’s not the loan company.

It would be best to get all of your Parent PLUS loans on the ICR plan. Call the loan servicer that is responsible for your Parent PLUS loans and tell them you need to get these all on ICR. Pronto.

If you are unable to afford the ICR payment for all your Parent PLUS loans and default, your Social Security can be exempt from garnishment if you appeal the garnishment.

If you defaulted on the ICR payments and the government was going to try and garnish your Social Security benefits you would receive a 60-day pre-garnishment notice. That notice would also contain the process for you to waive or appeal the Administrative Wage Garnishment (AWG).

You can read my post How to Easily Stop a Social Security Wage Garnishment.

Given what you shared, it does not look too difficult for you to show you have financial hardship if it gets this far.


You are not alone. I’m here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don’t give up.

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach