In 2006, my husband had a massive/paralyzing stroke, and I took care of him, at home, while working and also having the custody of a 2 yr old grandson. I decided I would go back to school, finish my degree, and hopefully start a new career. Due to his illness, and my working for family, our only income was Social Security, which meant I got 100% financial aid. So, in June 2007, I went back to school, at the age of 57 years, averaging 16 credits per term, and finally graduated in December 2012, 3.7 gpa, from Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, with a BS/Criminology & Criminal Justice. As an insurance agent of 38 yrs, and specializing in poor drivers, claims and fraud, the CJ degree was "priceless."
Then came the first billing for financial aid payments. My husband had died in 2008, and I was living on SS. The best advice I got was, and still is, to older college returnees: File your taxes even if you have no income, and immediately go to your FA servicing agency, and fill out deferral papers. Those papers along with your tax statement, will allow you to reduce your payment, or completely defer the entire amount. You must refile the tax form and deferral papers every year to continue your eligibility. Also, if you decide to go back to school for higher degree, your tax filing has already been made, and your FAFSA can be easily done. Too many times, older citizens, with only SS do not file taxes - you should. They can be used to prove your income, for anything. Your tax preparer may laugh - but, it is the only form which proves your income, or lack of same, if you only have Social Security, or disability (SSI).
DO NOT BE FOOLED by companies which charge you a fee for a reduction in payment. They may, or may not, be associated with your loan servicing agency. Check first - because your loan servicing agency WILL NOT charge a fee!