You have several options in dealing with federal student loans, unlike private student loans. This video by the Department of Education gives you an overview. If you cannot afford your regular payments, income-based or income-contingent repayment may be your best option.
We recently helped one man with $291,000 in federal student loan consolidate them and enter into an Income-Based or IBR plan. His payment? $340 per month! Of course, the Dept of Education will re-examine his income each year, so the payment can increase.
But at the end of 25 years, any amount of his student loan that has not be repaid, will be forgiven by the Government. That is not a bad deal. And with federal loans, they can be forgiven if you become disabled or pass away. Not so with private student loans.