Economic hardship comes in many forms. If you are unable to repay your student loans, many loan programs offer temporary options to defer payments. You must have a documented need for deferment to qualify for this perk. If you are receiving food stamps, your hardship is backed by a federal program and this information can be used to apply for deferment.
To qualify for food stamps, your income must be below the poverty level. As of 2010, a one-person household can have an income of $903 or less per month. You also must submit all assets and financial resources to the food stamp office so they can determine your level of need. Once you are approved, you can use the notification as proof of your income limitations and need for a federal deferment.
On many federal loan deferment worksheets, receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or food stamps is an automatic approval for deferment. Private loan policies vary but are typically in accordance with federal loan regulations. Read your deferment instructions to learn whether food stamps are included as an option for automatic deferment.
Loan deferments are temporary. If your food stamp application includes the certification dates of your benefits, you may only be approved for a deferment during these dates. Your certification dates are the dates you are approved to receive food stamp benefits. This can work to your benefit if you have a long certification period, but in cases where you receive food stamps for a few months, deferring your student loans using your food stamps as verification may not be a great option.
If food stamps do not allow you an automatic deferment on your student loans, you can use the approval notice as verification of your income. This is helpful for anyone that does not receive a pay stub, such as a small business owner or contracted employee. Since the federal program has maximum income requirements, your loan representatives can assess your level of economic hardship through your letter.