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Professional License Suspended for Not Paying Your Student Loans?

by Lewis Roberts, Florida Bankruptcy Lawyer

How to add insult to injury?  You are struggling to pay your student loans and the State of Florida suspends your professional license for not paying them… or even adding a fine on top of your student loan bill.

This can happen in Florida.  The applicable statute 456.072 reads:

456.072 Grounds for discipline; penalties; enforcement.

(1) The following acts shall constitute grounds for which the disciplinary actions specified in subsection (2) may be taken:

(k) Failing to perform any statutory or legal obligation placed upon a licensee. For purposes of this section, failing to repay a student loan issued or guaranteed by the state or the Federal Government in accordance with the terms of the loan or failing to comply with service scholarship obligations shall be considered a failure to perform a statutory or legal obligation, and the minimum disciplinary action imposed shall be a suspension of the license until new payment terms are agreed upon or the scholarship obligation is resumed, followed by probation for the duration of the student loan or remaining scholarship obligation period, and a fine equal to 10 percent of the defaulted loan amount. Fines collected shall be deposited into the Medical Quality Assurance Trust Fund.

(underline emphasis added)

So most federal student loan payment schedules last at least 10 years, many 25 years. Can you imagine being on probation for your professional license for 25 years? And the fine that is possible is not added to your student loan balance, it is collected by a different entity.

Some of the types of licenses that are covered by the statute are listed here:

(4) “Health care practitioner” means any person licensed under chapter 457; chapter 458; chapter 459; chapter 460; chapter 461; chapter 462; chapter 463; chapter 464; chapter 465; chapter 466; chapter 467; part I, part II, part III, part V, part X, part XIII, or part XIV of chapter 468; chapter 478; chapter 480; part III or part IV of chapter 483; chapter 484; chapter 486; chapter 490; or chapter 491.

The partial list includes: Acupuncture, Medical Practice, Osteopathic Medicine, Chiropractic Medicine, Podiatric Medicine, Naturopathy, Optometry, Nursing, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Dental Hygene, Home Inspectors, Massage Practice, Physical Therapy, and a host of other medical professionals.

But there is hope.  Speak to me about how to get your student loan payments back on track and avoid any license problems with the state of Florida.

There are options available to help people manage their federal student loan payments. And depending on your job, you may be forgiven from the balance of your federal loans after 10 years of payments, regardless of how much is left owed.

If you would like to know your options, please call us at (407) 749-0080 for a consultation.

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