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Do You Have Student Loans? Don’t Miss Your Chance To Get Your Loans Forgiven

Temporary changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program end on October 31.

Student loan debt is one of the biggest challenges facing union members. Recently, one of our Alliance unions, OFNHP, won an important victory which will benefit KP employees across the program, by expanding access to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. This federal program forgives the loans of those who have spent ten years (120 monthly loan payments) employed in the nonprofit or public sector.

Eligibility for the program is limited to full-time employees – defined as working an average of 30+ hours a week or as defined by the employer, whichever is greater. Depending on the bargaining unit, Kaiser Permanente defines full-time status above 30 hours a week up to as much as 40 hours a week. Therefore, many employees averaging hours between 30 and the employer’s definition of full-time have been ineligible for the program - until now.

Working with national AFT leadership, OFNHP secured a commitment from KP that the employer will now recognize employees working an average of 30 hours or more per week as “full-time”, for the purposes of qualifying for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. This commitment will apply to all eligible Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals employees, regardless of union, and allow many more employees to qualify.

Please note: This does not change the employer’s definition of full-time status for the purposes of any employer-administered benefits or programs. The PSLF program - as defined by the federal government - also requires employment at a nonprofit, so members working for SCPMG and TMPG are not eligible.

We congratulate OFNHP on this victory and urge you to check if you’re eligible for the temporary changes made to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. These changes, called the “Limited PSLF Waiver,” are helping borrowers across the nation more easily get their loans forgiven – but if you haven’t already applied for PSLF, you must submit a PSLF form and/or consolidate your non-direct federal student loans by October 31 to get the benefit. You can learn more about the waiver HERE. In short, the waiver will allow borrowers to gain additional PSLF credit, even if they had been told previously that they had the wrong loan type or the wrong repayment plan.

With Kaiser Permanente’s agreement to certify PSLF applications at 30+ hours per week, more of our members will now be eligible for this important benefit. As noted above, some federal program rules which increase eligibility are set to expire on October 31. We encourage everyone eligible to apply as soon as possible.

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