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College graduates are projected to make more money over the course of their life than individuals who do not obtain a college degree. For some, the debt that is acquired while obtaining their degree leads to a lifetime of financial distress. A difficult financial situation can become further complicated when major medical issues are thrown into the mix.

When struggling under the weight of life’s unexpected events, it may be helpful to investigate bankruptcy. Though student loan debt is generally not discharged in bankruptcy, all other debt may be discharged. This may be a good option for individuals approaching retirement with a high rate of debt that have not yet defaulted on their student loans and have a limited income.

If it is difficult to repay student loans, an individual should first contact their lender to determine if there are any payment options that can be utilized to help with these payments. If no options are available, it may be time to consider bankruptcy.

During the adversarial proceeding of bankruptcy student loan debt may be reduced or eliminated. Underlying health issues, whether a good faith effort of repayment was made and income are some of the factors that will determine if any modifications to the student loan will be made.

Individuals and families who want to determine whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is best for them, they should seek advice and guidance about their situation and possible options. The right financial plan depends on the financial status of the person. In some cases, debt can be totally eliminated, while in other cases, the debt can be reduced into manageable payments.

Source: Huffington Post, “I’m Draining My Little Retirement Savings to Pay Sallie Mae,” Steve Rhode, Nov. 27, 2013.