The official COVID-19 national emergency is coming to an end, leaving some Americans to wonder what that means for economic policies changed during the pandemic.
Earlier this week, President Joe Biden said he intends to let the COVID-19 national emergency and public health emergency declarations expire in May. The public health emergency was first declared by then-President Donald Trump in January 2020, and the national emergency in March 2020.
The declarations spurred a variety of real-world policy changes affecting average Americans’ lives, including free COVID tests, treatments, and vaccines. In response, federal departments and agencies also implemented their own changes to policies, like the pause on federal student loan payments and interest accrual, first implemented by Trump’s Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.
As the national emergencies come to an end, it’s not exactly clear how the move will affect Americans with federal student loans.
Currently, the date for restarting federal student loan payments depends on the outcome of a U.S. Supreme Court case tied to Biden’s one-time student loan forgiveness plan. Payments will either restart 60 days after that case is resolved, or 60 days after June 30, 2023, whichever is earliest.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, the end of the national health emergency does not change this. Repayment will follow the same timeline outlined above, which is displayed at the top of the Office of Federal Student Aid’s (FSA) website.
“While litigation is preventing us from providing the relief needed to avoid these harms, we don’t think it’s right to ask you to pay on loans you wouldn’t have to pay were it not for the lawsuits challenging the program,” the FSA site reads.
What it means for the one-time forgiveness program
But some worry that Biden’s declaration will complicate the legal case, Nebraska v. Biden, whic …