What started with a novel virus breaking out half-way across the world, seemingly far removed from us here in the United States, has turned into a health pandemic. This specific pandemic has had a unique impact on those seeking certification in the medical profession.

Daily, I have been connecting with medical students and resident wives and hearing their individual stories. My prayers are with those who are on the front lines working in hopsitals and clinics without proper PPE and spouses who are home caring for children and family members all the while knowing the risks of cross-contamination.

This post isn’t meant to be political and is not my opinion on the spread of the virus. Just here to give some facts on how the stimulus package and US government response to the pandemic is impacting medical students and resident physicians from a financial standpoint.

Medical students, the course has been altered to distance learning and research and you now have LOTS of time with your spouse and/or family. Enjoy it! Don’t feel guilty, pray for those who are working, and keep your mind fresh on all the knowledge you have aquired.

There is good news during this unprecedented time of when board exams will be rescheduled, when rotations will restart, and if and how the class of 2020 graduation ceremony will take place. Medical Students and their dependents qualify for the Stimulus Package!

Stimulus Funds are on their way for those who filed their 2019 taxes as single or married filing jointly! If you are in medical school and you have not filed your taxes because you did not earn an income, GO FILE YOUR 2019 taxes even if you made $0. You can file your taxes here for free so that you will qualify* to receive the refundable tax credit.

*Those who are 24 years or under whose parents claim them as a dependent will not qualify.

If my spouse stays at home and I am a medical student do we still qualify for the refund? Yes, so make sure to file your 2019 taxes with direct deposit for the quickest refund.

How much of the stimulus refund do I qualify for? Most medical students and their families will get a full refund, under the qualification that you made $150,000 or less ($75,000 or less single). If you did make more than $150,000 filing jointly congrats!

  • A one-time refund of $1200 for most adults or a $2400 per married couple.
  • In addition a one-time refund of $500 will be given for each dependent under the age fo 16 years old.

Extra cash and time with your family are certainly the positives coming out of this challenging time. We expect our utility bills to be higher and have residency moving expenses coming up. I know several people have had to postpone vacation plans, costing deposits and minimizing excitement. Hopefully for those tight on funds this will help you get through to the next loan drop!

For those who have graduated or are M4 students about to enter residency the current health crisis is also impacting your student loans.

F.A.Q on student loans:

How are my student loans impacted?

  • Direct or federally-owned FFEL loans pay $0 a month
  • Direct or federally-owned FEEL loans also aquire 0% interest until September 30, 2020.
  • You don’t need to do anything to qualify for the payment and interest freeze if you’re on PAYE, REPAYE, or PSLF. 
  • Unfortunately any private or commercially held FFEL loans do not qualify for the payment and interest freeze.

What if we are on Income Based Repayment (IBR)?

Income Based Repayment (IBR). If you income has changed contact your lender to recalcuate your monthly obigation. Even if your payment is $0/monthly this will still be counted toward your 20 or 25 year threshold.

*10 yr if you are also PSLF

What if we are Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)?

Tom and I will be applying for PSLF and IBR as he plans to continue training for some time and pursue interventional cardiology. Let’s connect if you have tips for us!

  • If you still have your job at a qualifying public service job than keep making your qualifying, on-time payments. These payments will be suspended during COVID-19 but the time worked during suspended payments will count toward your 120 qualifying, on-time payments.
  • Good new that your forgiveness period will not be affected!

A HUGE thank you and virtual HUG to those who are working on the frontlines during COVID-19 and a bigger hug to those who are working in specialties that are considered non-essential and are scrambling for jobs.

Photo by lucas Favre on Unsplash