Federal student loan payments suspended until end of January

(Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on Friday said the suspension of federal student loans payments and accruing interest set to end on Dec. 31 will be extended another month as the pandemic presents financial challenges to borrowers.

“This temporary pause in payments will help those who have been impacted,” DeVos said in a statement. “The added time also allows Congress to do its job and determine what measures it believes are necessary and appropriate.”

In March, the Trump administration suspended interest and payments on federal student loans for 60 days. In August, the moratorium was extended until Dec. 31 and on Friday it was extended until Jan. 31. DeVos has also instructed employers to halt wage garnishment for borrowers with defaulted federal student loans.

DeVos’ announcement came after a government report earlier in the day showed the labor market slowing in November as talks aimed at delivering a fresh infusion of coronavirus relief to American families and businesses gathered momentum in the U.S. Congress.

Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Daniel Wallis