Valley Man Still Paying 1984 Student Loan He Never Took Out
RIO HONDO - A Rio Hondo man said he is still paying off a student loan. The problem is he claims he never took it out. The government claims the papers for his loan are dated 1984.
Michael Hicks enrolled in Jay's Truck Driving School in Missouri just over 33 years ago.
He said he wanted a career as a truck driver and paid most of the $2,669 tuition weeks before school started, but he said he still owed the school $500.
He stated on the first day of class, he was instructed to go a school representative to tear up paperwork for a loan.
"She says, 'I'll tell ya what, I'll run it through the government document shredder.' She says, 'it shreds two ways.' So I took her word at that. Went back to class and then ever since, here it is thirty-three years later, I'm still paying on a loan," said Hicks.
Hicks said the bank he received the loan from, and the school, have gone out of business. He adds he believed any debts to the school were paid. However, he does not have documents to prove it.
"They gotta give it to me. They're not gonna give it to me because they've already charged me for it. Convenient," he said.
Hicks said in 1989, he was involved in a serious car wreck. Since then, he has been on disability.
His disability check has been widdled down to about $750 a month. This is because the Department of Education takes money to pay the loan from his check. The amount taken out from his monthly check in January of this year was $124.30. He has checked this year and his debt had added up to over $7,000.
Over the years, he has called the U.S. Treasury Department trying, unsuccessfully, to have the loan payment halted. At one point, he even tried to see what a judge thought.
"I ended up having to go to court. I ended up having to pay a lawyer," he adds.
CHANNEL FIVE NEWS was with Hicks as he called the U.S. Department of Education to ask why he was still making the payments. A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Education who could only identify herself as LaShawnda said it is because he has not provided documentation stating the loan was paid.
However, she said he has options to get the payments stopped through the department of education permanent disability unit.
"If you are permanently disabled, you can go through that unit again and contact them and let them know that you are still permanently disabled and you would like to apply to have the loan discharged," LaShawnda told Hicks.
Hicks said he is OK with calling the number LaShawnda provided to re-certify himself with the Education Department as having a total and permanent disability.
According to the Education Department, if his application is approved he will not have to make monthly disability payments.