(CBS Local) — As the country grapples with an unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic that’s thrown millions of Americans out of work, the U.S. Department of Education is automatically giving most federal student loan borrowers a break from their monthly bills until at least October.
That reprieve started on March 13 and goes until Sept. 30. And during that time, consumers will not be charged interest or late fees. The six-month pause is automatic, so borrowers do not have to apply.
President Donald Trump said on Thursday that the six-month reprieve could be extended past September, depending on the state of the economy.
The government is also stopping the garnishment of wages, Social Security checks and tax refunds from defaulted student loan borrowers amid the global health crisis.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 3, 2020
All “Direct” federal loans are eligible and Parent Plus loans should qualify, too. However, some Federal Family Education Loan or Perkins Loans programs do not qualify.
If there’s any confusion, borrowers can log in to Federal Student Aid to learn their loan type and lender. You can also call your servicer or 1-800-4-FED-AID to find out if your loans qualify.
The government’s student loan forbearance does not apply to private student loans.
In addition, the traditional Tax Day of April 15 has been delayed by the federal government, pushing both the filing and payment deadline to July 15.
As of last week, every state with an individual income tax had pushed back their filing or payment deadlines, except Idaho, Mississippi, and Virginia, according Tax Foundation.
Click here for a list of hanging state deadlines, as maintained by the American Institute of CPAs.
Regardless of the deadline delay, taxpayers who are due a refund are urged to file as soon as possible. Most tax refunds are still being issued within 21 days, the IRS says.