As May 2022 approaches, you need to prepare for your loan payments to restart sometime in June.
First, re-enroll in auto-pay. Make sure your auto-pay is set up now, so you don’t have to worry about it later.
Request deferment for unemployment or other legitimate reasons. Many Americans are still facing tough times. If you seriously can’t start paying in May/June 2022, request an economic hardship deferment.
Enroll in an income-driven plan (IDR) if you haven’t already done so. If it makes sense for your budget, enroll in any of the 4 IDR plans:
A note on income-driven repayment: The government is considering a simplified IDR plan to replace the existing plans. While it’s unclear what that will be, exactly, this may change the way you certify your income and other details, as well as the way your payment is calculated.
If you’ve moved to a new address or changed phones, make sure your servicer has your current contact information.
Consider consolidating your loans so you aren’t worrying about multiple monthly payments for various loans. (Refinancing is not consolidating.)
However, remember that if you consolidate your student loans, your progress towards loan forgiveness resets to zero. The only exception is with the new PSLF waiver, which allows you to get credit for back payments even after consolidation (more on that waiver below).