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Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Applicants

Participants

Frequently Asked Questions for Applicants

Indian Health Facilities

Q: What is an Indian health facility?

A: Indian health facilities refer to hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities administered directly by IHS, a Tribal organization or an Urban Indian program (I/T/U).

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Qualified Loans

Q: Does the LRP pay for undergraduate loans?

A: The LRP will pay for undergraduate loans as long as those studies were prerequisites for a graduate degree in the discipline in which you were awarded loan repayment.

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Q: Does the LRP pay for consolidated loans?

A: The LRP will only pay for health profession education loans related to the discipline in which you are awarded loan repayment. Any non-health profession education loans or loans for family members (for example, wife, husband, parents, etc.) that are consolidated with your qualified loans will not be paid.

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Job Search

Q: Will you help me find employment?

A: Yes, IHS will assist in matching you to an eligible site. Contact an IHS Recruiter for assistance.

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LRP Payments

Q: How much will I receive if I am awarded loan repayment?

The LRP awards up to $40,000 for your initial two-year service commitment. Visit the Financial Incentives page for more information.

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Q: Do I have to use the full amount of the LRP award to pay back my loan?

A: Yes, you must use the full award amount to pay your loan debt.

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Qualifications

Q: Do I have to be American Indian or Alaska Native to receive an LRP award?

A: No, all health professionals are eligible to apply for an LRP award. However, American Indians and Alaska Natives receive priority consideration when all factors are equal between applicants (such as site score and staffing needs).

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Q: Do I need to be a licensed health professional to apply and receive an award?

A: No, you do not need to be licensed at the time you apply or receive an award. However, you are not eligible for employment and will not receive your first payment until you provide proof of licensure to your facility and the LRP branch office.

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Notification of Awards

Q: When will I be notified whether I have been awarded loan repayment?

A: The LRP mails award notifications on the last working day of each month as determined by your selected facility's site score and the availability of funding. Contact the LRP branch office if you have not received any communication regarding your application status.

The LRP will notify all applicants not selected for loan repayment by the end of October. The LRP offers applicants an opportunity to have their application considered during the next fiscal year, if they so choose.

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Frequently Asked Questions for Participants

LRP Payments

Q: When can I expect my payment?

A: The LRP makes initial loan repayment awards in two installments. You should receive your first installment within 120 days from the date the Secretary's delegate signs your contract or your first day of work at your assigned site. You will receive your second installment after you submit the appropriate employment verification and loan documents at the beginning of your second year of service.

If you are approved for a contract extension, you will receive payment within 120 days of the beginning of your new contract.

Visit the Financial Incentives page for more information.

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Q: Are my payments taxable?

A: Yes, the LRP pays 20 percent of your federal tax liabilities. You are responsible for any remaining federal, state or local taxes associated with your award. Visit the Financial Obligations page for more information.

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Transfers

Q: Can I transfer to another site or position?

A: LRP awards are site and position specific. The LRP branch office must pre-approve all transfers. Visit the Employment Requirements page for more information.

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Service Commitment

Q: What happens if I cannot complete my service commitment?

A: If you expect to miss more than 35 workdays due to medical, military or urgent personal matters, you can request a suspension of your service commitment with the expectation that you will return to your site and position upon completion of your suspension.

If you choose to leave the facility and/or position for another job and will not complete your service commitment, you will be in breach of contract and placed in default.

Reference the LRP Participant Guide [PDF - 832KB] for more information.

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Extending My LRP Contract

Q: How do I extend my contract?

A: You can request a contract extension as you approach the final calendar year of your current contract. Extension requests submitted before January 1 will receive priority consideration. You can extend your contract for as long as you have outstanding qualified loans. Visit the Extending Participation page for more information.

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