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Updated on Friday, May 20, 2016
The Obama administration recently announced a new plan to ensure that permanently disabled Americans with outstanding federal student loans are able to easily apply for student loan discharge.
The process of applying for loan discharge due to permanent disability has been available in its current form since 2012, but only a small percentage of eligible individuals have actually applied. The new initiative set forth by the Department of Education will actively identify and reach out to individuals who are eligible for Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) loan discharge, to let them know about this option and help guide them through the necessary steps. Letters containing this information will be sent out over the next several months to eligible individuals, and follow-up letters will be sent after 120 days if no response is received.
However, if you do not receive a letter from the Department of Education but believe you may be eligible for TPD loan discharge, you can apply on your own by using the online form found here. If you’d prefer, you can also request that a paper version of the application be sent to you by calling (888) 303-7818 (seven days a week between 8am and 8pm Eastern Time), or emailing [email protected]
You must include supporting documentation along with your application. This documentation must consist of one of the following:
- If you are currently receiving either Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits, you can submit documentation of the award for these benefits.
- If you are a veteran and your disability is a result of your service in the U.S. military, you can submit documentation from the Department of Veterans Affairs stating that your disability prevents you from being gainfully employed.
- If you have neither of the above types of documentation, you can obtain documentation from a certified physician stating that you have a permanent disability that prevents you from being gainfully employed.
The application and supporting documentation should be mailed to:
U.S. Department of Education
P.O. Box 87130
Lincoln, NE 68501-7130
The Department of Education estimates that most applications will be processed within 30 days. While your application is under consideration, your obligation to repay your student loans will be suspended.
The Obama administration is aiming to reach as many eligible Americans as possible, so if you know someone who might qualify for TPD loan discharge, please forward this information to them. More information about the TPD loan discharge application process is available here.