Julie Roberts recently learned that people with student debt can postpone their payments, with no penalties, if they're diagnosed with cancer.
She was interested — the 52-year-old woman owes around $80,000 and is fighting stage 4 breast cancer.
The requirements of the cancer deferment, passed by Congress last year, are straightforward: a person needs to owe money on federal student loans and be in active treatment for cancer. Once approved, borrowers can pause their bills throughout their medical care and then for six months afterward.
Shortly after she learned about the option, Roberts called her student loan servicer, American Education Services, to request that her payments be put on hold.
To her surprise, she said she was given a variety of reasons for why the lender didn't need to offer her the deferment. She said she was told the bill had not yet passed and that she didn't qualify. These conversations took place in early January, she said.