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I lost my job. What should I do about my student loans?

You may be eligible for temporary student loan relief through the federal CARES Act, which stands for Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security. The act became law on March 27.

The CARES Act offers temporary relief for students who took out federal loans for their undergraduate, graduate or professional education.

The law provides automatic suspension of principal and interest payments on federally held student loans through September 30, 2020, without penalty. You do not need to take any action to suspend payments; your federal student loan servicer will suspend billing automatically.

According to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), the student loan benefits provided under CARES do not apply to private student loan programs or federal loans that were refinanced with a private entity. Additionally, these benefits do not apply to federal loans that are not owned by the federal government, including Perkins loans and some under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program. If you have loans owned by private lenders loans, contact your servicer to find out what options are available to you.

The CFPB is also advising borrowers to be alert to scams. The federal government will not ask for a fee to suspend your payment, and no action is required of you. If someone asks for money to process this information, it’s a scam and you should report them to the FTC’s complaint assistant.

Beyond the CARES Act, the CFPB has a trove of useful information on how to protect yourself financially from the impact of the coronavirus.