A forbearance is a temporary end to or reduction of payments, or an extension of time for making payments. Lenders may grant forbearance if you're having difficulty repaying your loan but aren't eligible for a deferment. The objective is to prevent you from going into default on your loan or to allow you to resume honoring your repayment obligation after you've defaulted. The lender may grant forbearance to you only if they believe that you intend to repay the loan, but are unable to make payments due to poor health or other acceptable reasons.
When you're in forbearance, interest continues to accrue on your account. The forbearance period is excluded from the period of repayment. Thus, if your repayment period is 10 years, you won't be using up part of that 10-year period while you're in forbearance. Lenders may not charge you any fees to grant you a forbearance. Lenders also can't report negative information about your repayment status to credit bureaus simply because they have granted you a forbearance. (They could report negative information to credit bureaus if you were behind on payments and did not receive a forbearance.)
Call your lender/servicer to find out if they have a special form for forbearances. As with a deferment, you must continue to make payments on your loan until you're notified that the forbearance has been granted.