My husband and I both went to undergrad and graduate school and he also got his PhD. Combined we have over $350k of student loan debt. Years ago when the ibr payment plan began, we put out loans into the plan. I asked tons of questions and have repeatedly done all I could to educate myself about student loans. I have poured over the studentloans.gov repeatedly over the last decades as well as inumerable websites and forums. I find I typically know more than the call center workers about the reality of our options and the available loan programs.
With all of this said, I have asked countless times and been told over the years repeatedly that the time your loans are in an ibr plan but also being defered or forbeared counts toward the 25 years of loan payments then making you eligible for forgiveness. Because of this we have chosen to use all of the available forbarence and deferment options before paying on our loans. Every time things shift I go back to educating myself to be sure we are making the best decisions, but now I am reading things that make me uncertain that any of those years in deferment and forbarence count toward forgiveness! Could it be that I have been so misinformed so many times over the years? I can't find a solid answer anywhere on line.
Please help! How can I find out definitively how much progress has been made toward forgiveness?
You can find this specific answer straight on StudentLoans.gov from the Department of Education here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/understand/plans/income-driven/questions
Basically, economic hardship deferment months do count towards income-driven repayment forgiveness.
Other types of deferment (including in-school, disability, etc) and forbearance don't count.
Also, if you're considering PSLF, no types of deferments or forbearances count.