When it comes to primary sources of debt that challenge legions of Americans , many people automatically think of medical bills and credit card obligations.

And many of them also think of student debt.

In fact, school-linked loans assumed by young people commonly become financial challenges persisting for decades. In some instances, payment duties become so onerous that they preclude debtors from buying homes, saving for retirement or funding even life’s basic necessities.

That serious problem is well noted by reform advocates across the country. They have long argued that some starkly challenged individuals should have an easier time discharging student debt through bankruptcy than is currently the case.

In fact, it a distinct rarity for any person to secure bankruptcy protection for education-related loans. One recent article focused on that subject notes that it is “notoriously difficult” to do so.

Discussion surrounding the matter often focuses upon the notion of “undue hardship,” which federal law introduced in 2005 as the threshold standard for a student debtor seeking relief. An oft-cited core problem with the concept is that it has never been defined in any uniform way.

Perhaps that might change in the foreseeable future, given a recent signal from the U.S. Department of Education. That agency is seeking public input on what undue hardship means and how it should be evaluated in cases where debtors seek student loan discharge through bankruptcy.

Some commentators point to the DOE’s move as evidence that regulators are seeking to strike a new and more balanced approach to loan discharge in exceptional cases.

Questions concerning loan repayment challenges owing to any source and resulting avenues — including bankruptcy — that might be available to address them can be directed to an experienced debt-relief attorney.