FORT MYERS, FLA — Every month, Amanda Deller says she coughs up $600 in student loan payments.
"It takes a big part of my paycheck," she said.
It's a type of debt that weighed heavy on many minds before the pandemic and now that feeling is heightened.
"It does add stress and wanting to buy a house and wanting to find a new apartment or a better apartment," said Deller.
In 40 million Americans got a break on federal student loan payments. But that needed deal expires at the end of December. As of now, there's not really a plan in place to extend it.
So what should you do if you can't pay?
Well, FGCU economist Victor Claar says you should contact your loan holder and soon. That's because there will likely be delays in response time, since millions of others will also be doing the same.
"It's possible to contact your loan provider and request an additional deferment or what's called a forbearance," said Claar.
And if you must pay, Claar says you may be able to lower the amount.
"The people who lent students student loan money, they really want to be paid back. And they are often perfectly willing to work with you, especially in a challenging time like this," he said.
Claar adds that uncertainty about when people will be able to make loan payments again, is something that will likely continue for a while and even after we get COVID-19 under control.
"We still don't know when we'll be done with this. I think we also know that because it's gone on long enough, we also know that the with the economy there isn't a pause button in it," he said.
If you're looking for more information about student loan payments during the pandemic, visit StudentAidPandemic.org.