Loan Deferment and Forbearance There may be times when you are not able, or are not required, to make payments on your loans. Both a deferment and forbearance allow you to postpone or temporarily reduce your loan payment. These benefits are available to you if due to certain circumstances you cannot afford to make any payments or what you can afford to pay is less than the lowest payment required under any repayment plan. A deferment requires that you meet the criteria for the specific type of deferment, while the forbearance is more of a general postponement that typically does not require proof or supporting documentation. The difference between deferment status and forbearance status is that the government continues to pay the interest on the subsidized Stafford (Direct or FFEL) while the loan is in deferment, but it does not pay the interest while the loan is in forbearance. You will need to contact your lender/servicer directly to apply for a forbearance or deferment. Types of Deferment In school deferment Military deferment Post Active Duty deferment Graduate Fellowship deferment Rehabilitation Training (for the disabled) deferment Unemployment deferment Economic Hardship deferment Types of Forbearances Discretionary Approved at the discretion of the lender or servicer. You can request forbearance for financial hardship, illness, life changing circumstance, or natural disaster. Mandatory There are specific types of situations where the lender/servicer is required to grant a you a forbearance, such as if you are enrolled in a medical or dental internship/residency program (beyond the maximum deferment time limit); if you serve on active military state duty as a member of the National Guard; if you have student loan debt burden equal to or greater than 20% of your monthly income; if you are performing qualifying service under Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program; if you qualify for partial loan repayment under the student loan repayment programs administered by the Department of Defense. For more information on deferment and forbearance options visit the Department of Education's Federal Student Aid website for more information.