Amy vs. The Department of Education
March 22, 2004
OR, AMY IS PROBABLY AN IDIOT BUT WE'RE BLAMING SOMEONE ELSE ENTIRELY
So I got this letter from the Department of Education on Friday, saying that the automatic debiting of my student loan payment had been halted.
(PANIC ATTACK #1: Oh shit, oh shit...did I change my information when I opened that new bank account? Did I just default on my student loans? Oh shit.)
The second sentence of the letter said that the automatic debiting of my student loan payment had been halted because the loans were no longer in repayment status.
(JOY ATTACK #1: Holy shit! I've paid off my loans! I'm done! No more loan payments ever!)
The third sentence said that I still owe approximately eleventy zillion dollars, but that I had been granted a deferment or forbearance.
(PANIC ATTACK #2: Oh shit. They've screwed something up. They've given me someone else's deferment and if I stay quiet about it they'll show up at my office and arrest me for fraud.)
The fourth sentence of the letter and all sentences afterwards were all blah blah blah form letter talkyspeak.
So I went to the Department of Education's lovely website, and after trying every single username/password combination I have ever used, I finally got into my account.
Sure enough, I'd been granted a deferment. It did not say why. It did not even really say what a deferment is. But it did say that I don't owe them anything until July 20, 2011.
(JOY ATTACK #2: Holy shit! 2011? That's like...(counting on fingers)...SEVEN YEARS? I don't have to pay anything for SEVEN YEARS?)
Then it said that interest will continue to accrue on the unsubsidized portion of my loan during the derferment period. Fuckers.
So this won't work at all. I mean, I make a nice living. Jason makes an even nicer living and we had no pre-nup. I can afford the stinking $135.33 monthly loan payment. It gets automatically taken away every month and I never miss it. Poof. Bye-bye, money. So when it comes down to it, I'd rather just keep paying the stupid loan off rather than defer and still be paying it off when I'm 57 years old.
Right. So. I shall call and tell them to where they can shove this derferment nonsense.
Blah blah blah menu options talkyspeak. Whatever, give me a human. Zero pound, zero pound, etc.
Human: Hello, this is Jason, how may I help you?
Amy: Hee. Jason.
NotThatJason: Excuse me?
Amy: Sorry. Yes, I just got this letter? That said I've been granted a deferment? But I don't want it.
NotThatJason: Excuse me?
Amy: Deferment. That I didn't ask for. Get rid of it. I want to keep paying the loan off.
NotThatJason: You know deferments are good things, right? It means you don't have to pay anything.
Amy: But I want to. I have money. Take it.
NotThatJason: Well, you can keep paying the loan off if you want to.
Amy: But you turned off my automatic debity thing.
NotThatJason: Right. But you can still mail in a check.
Amy: A...check? Like...with paper?
NotThatJason: Yes. You can pay the interest with a check.
Amy: Um, right. See, I will not remember to mail in a check. Why can't you just make things like they were before?
NotThatJason: We received notice that you're enrolled in school at least part-time this semester.
Amy: OH! Right. That.
NotThatJason: So you qualify for an in-school deferment.
Amy: Yeah, but...I'm taking some classes...but I graduate in May. And I'm not like, a real college student. I'm not poor. There's no need for this 2011 nonsense.
NotThatJason: We're required by law to grant you the deferment.
Amy: But. I. Don't. Want. It.
NotThatJason: You'll save almost 60% with the deferment.
Amy: Wait, what?
NotThatJason: But if you want it gone, fine, I'll take it off. Hold please.
Amy: Wait! 60%? How?
HoldMusic: doo de doo doo de doooooo staticstaticzzzzz
NotThatJason: Ok, I've gone ahead and removed the deferment. It should take about two weeks before it takes effect.
Amy: What was that you said about 60%?
NotThatJason: During a deferment, the government pays the interest on the subsidized portion of your loan. If you continue to pay the interest on the unsubsidized portion, more money will go towards your principal and you'll finish paying the loan off faster.
Amy: Oh. OH. I didn't, um, know that.
Amy: See, I didn't really understand what a deferment was.
Amy: I just did something really stupid, didn't I?
NotThatJason: Well. Hmmxzzerp.
Amy: Can I have my deferment back?
NotThatJason: Hold please.
HoldMusic: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzstaticstatic do dee doozzzzzzzzz
I did get my deferment back, and I realized that I can still just have my bank mail a real-life check for me every month automatically, and also that I should read more and not talk on the phone to people, ever.
But in my defense? The letter they sent me did not say ANYTHING about saving money or mailing paper checks or the government paying for things. And NotThatJason did not explain a damn thing either. I still, just now, Googled "deferment" to make sure that I was explaining it right. He obviously realized he was dealing with a complete and utter moron who needed things explained to her and chose not to. I hope they recorded and monitored our call. Grumble, grrr, etc.
(And then YesThatJason pointed out that next semester? When I'm not in school anymore? They'll probably take the deferment away from me again. So if I hadn't called I probably would have just been all, "Oh good, they fixed it" when I got the next letter. Welcome to the futility that is my life.)