DFAS Loans

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7+ Year Member
Aug 23, 2014
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I was honorably discharged during my 4th year of medical school due to medical illness. Unfortunately I dont think I am going to be able to continue in a career of medicine. I now have substantial DFAS loans. I was wondering if there is anything I might be able to do for loan forgiveness. I am willing to do anything in the public service area but I cannot find out any information if these loans qualify.

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In another thread, you posted:

I am currently a second year family medicine resident. I have decided to give up my career in clinical medicine and I want to pursue something nonclinical. I do not have a MBA, MPH, etc. Plus I do not have an unrestricted license either. Does anyone have any suggestions on where to go to help find a suitable job to help keep my head afloat with my student loans?

Why are you giving up medicine?
Mainly personal reasons plus I really do not enjoy clinical medicine. I just wanted to see if anyone personally or knows of someone that decided not to pursue the clinical side of medicine and was successful. Only reason keeping me from changing directions is the loans.

It might help to have more background information. You haven't given many details, and if you don't want to that's OK, but it appears that what happened was:

- you were HPSP (or USUHS?) and left during your 4th year for medical reasons

- you left under circumstances that were honorable, yet the military billed you for your education, which they usually won't do if someone is medically discharged. Typically this means the discharge was deemed to be in the best interest of the military; e.g., administrative separation with an honorable discharge.

- you then completed medical school somewhere else

- you completed internship someplace

- now you're a family medicine PGY2 and are are leaving for personal reasons

Bottom line, it appears that the military paid for your medical schooling, which you ultimately completed and used (ie, internship and part of PGY2), and now you would rather go in another direction with your life. If that's the case, then it would seem the military has a legitimate claim to reimbursement. I would not expect the loans to be forgiven, nor does it sound like you have a right to have them forgiven.

There probably aren't public service options available to you, even if you finish residency. The government didn't loan you money for med school; the military paid for it, and the only service they wanted was your time on active duty. The military doesn't really need (or want) to negotiate a settlement or compromise with you.

That said, while student loan debt is not dischargeable in bankruptcy, this wasn't a "student loan" and it's possible that DFAS debt might be?

It would be worth your while to talk to a bankruptcy lawyer. Even if you don't file for bankruptcy, you'd probably get some more facts about the laws related to DFAS debt.
Thank you for your response. No I stayed in the same school during my 4th year but was found unfit for the Navy. I was HPSP. I was removed from the Navy of course. After that I finish a TRI year. I have read the there is programs that are public service that after 10 years will erase your debt. I figured that the DFAS loans did not fall into this category.

My loans with DFAS have been classified as an educational debt which sounds like a student loan. I looked on their website to see if bankruptcy was a possibility so therefore I don't think that is an option. Honestly I don't want to do that though. I did use the military and they deserved to be paid off in a more responsible way in my opinion.

And I have never really used this site before. Does all of our posts always come on to the same thread?
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Like it was mentioned before, the military doesn't go after you for recoupment in cases of medical separation, so I am guessing there is a disciplinary issue involved too, which would cause problems with seeking public service jobs.

Once again, you shouldn't feel compelled to reveal your true situation as it could make you identifiable, but at the same time, but it's difficult to give advice having no info.
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The DFAS loan will not be easily discharged. If I am not mistaken it's as rock solid as student loans. Talk to a lawyer or try to negotiate some sort of payment plan.