30 year old student loan rearing its head.

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30 year old student loan rearing its head.

I graduated college in DE in 1979, had college loans which I paid off but off course cannot find the paperwork on it. My last tax return (2008) refund was kept by the government for a debt they claim I have to the US DEpt Education for the loan. Having nothing to prove the pay-off, how do I start trying to clear this up?

Asked on June 8, 2009 under Business Law, District of Columbia

Answers:

R.S.T., Member, NY Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

J.V., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

What I would advise you do is contact the US Dept of Education and ask for paperwork and documentation substantiating the debt as well as account numbers etc. This way if they cannot provide it you may want to hire yourself a lawyer to help you contest the debt. If they can you will than have more information to work with.
 
At that point try to make some calls see if whomever you paid has records of such payments. Basically you have to simply trail this debt until you locate any evidence of payment. You may also want to consult with a local attorney about possible statute problems. If they are digging up a 20 year old debt they may have a statute problem which I advise seeking legal counsel about. An attorney will be able to have this case closed immediately if the statute has run.
 
One other possible concern is that because they kept your refund that would lead me to believe that there is a judgment against you for this debt. That you will also want to find out and the easiest way is to contact the creditor who has to inform you of this information. Without a judgment it would seem improbable that they are able to keep your refund. There are also numerous laws surrounding the collection agency with regard to notice and it would seem strange you were never notified.
 
So as I said you need to track everything, try to get the details on the account, determine if there is a judgment on this, than decide if you might want to hire a local attorney to handle this on your behalf. Good luck

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