MELS UPDATE: COVID-19 Federal Student Loan Relief

The Municipal Employees Legal Services is here to help members manage their student debt. Collection of Federal direct student loans has been suspended through September 30, 2020. During this period:

  • Borrowers with federal student loans in repayment are excused from making their regular monthly payments.
  • Involuntary collection activity must stop — No wage garnishment; no federal tax seizure and no Social Security reductions.
  • No interest and no penalties will accrue.
  • Borrowers have the option of continuing to make monthly principal payments.
  • Borrowers in the student loan rehabilitation process will receive credit for suspended payments.

FFEL loans not owned by the federal government, Perkins loans obtained through the state, and private student loans obtained through commercial lenders are not eligible for relief under this program.

Borrowers in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program will receive credit for the months elapsing between now and September 30, 2020, regardless of whether they choose to continue making principal payments. However, all other PSLF requirements must be met: Full time work in a qualifying public service position, etc.


Borrowers who do not have on-line accounts may visit and follow the instructions to create one. This will provide borrowers with the ability to obtain up-to-date information on their FEDERAL student loan account with the US Department of Education.

Borrowers with loans being serviced by NelNet, FedLoan and Navient may find that they need to establish an additional on-line account with their servicer.

BEWARE!!! Avoid scams. There is no fee for borrowers to receive relief during this period. No borrower should ever pay anyone an enrollment or registration fee or provide any of their personal information to anyone offering such assistance.

Involuntary collection activity (tax seizure, Social Security withholding and wage garnishment) should have ceased effective March 13, 2020. In the event that a borrower finds that a withholding took place after that date, borrowers should contact their servicer to inquire as to reimbursement. In the event that further information or intervention is needed, borrowers may contact MELS (212) 815-1111 or email for assistance.

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