Complete Guide To Student Loan Forgiveness For Disabled

student loan forgiveness for disabled

When you take out student loans, you’re betting that you’ll be able to repay them someday. But what if you become sick unexpectedly or are engaged in an accident that prevents you from working? This is where student loan forgiveness for disabled comes in.

What disabilities qualify for student loan forgiveness for disabled

Student loan forgiveness for disabled may be available if you have a persistent physical or mental handicap that prohibits you from working. Borrowers have been granted a complete and permanent disability discharge (TPD) as a result of:

  • cancer in its fourth stage, or terminal cancer
  • Fibromyalgia is a persistent pain condition.
  • Degenerative disc disease 
  • major depressive disorder
  • bipolar disorder 

On the other hand, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is seldom severe enough to generate substantial functional deficits. Which prevents you from working. However, it’s worth investigating. You can still seek cancellation due to ADHD if your doctor feels it causes severe impairment.

The Social Security Administration maintains a list of adult disabilities that may qualify you for disability discharge.

Federal Student Loan Requirements

You should know that the disabled person must have incurred educational obligations. Although the Federal Parent PLUS loan can be discharged if the student on whose behalf the loan was taken out or the parent borrower dies, the debt can only be discharged if the parent borrower becomes disabled, not the student.

There are three ways to demonstrate that you have a severe enough condition to qualify for a full and permanent disability discharge. Veterans having a VA disability designation, those who have a doctor’s certification, and with certain Social Security disability statuses are all eligible.

Eligibility for student loans forgiveness for disabled

You have three choices for starting the release procedure:

A physician’s certification

Your primary care doctor or a specialist can certify that you are unable to work due to medical issues. To apply, get your doctor’s approval and download a PDF copy of the Permanent and Total Disability Discharge Application form.

Notice of Award from Social Security

If both of the following facts are true, you are eligible. Your major source of income is Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Second, the Social Security Administration must state in your notice of award letter that your next scheduled disability review will take place between five and seven years following your most recent SSA disability judgment.

Veteran Affairs Determination Letter

If you are a veteran who has been unable to work as a result of a service-connected illness, you may be eligible for a loan discharge without having to show proof from your doctor. However, if you receive a letter from the VA stating that you have a service-connected disability that is completely disabling or that you are completely handicapped based on an individual unemployability rating, you will be considered a veteran.

Award letter from Social Security

You can use your SSA award letter to show your impairment if you receive Social Security disability insurance (SSDI). Your next scheduled disability review must be within five to seven years after your most recent disability determination, according to the SSA letter.

Determination of veteran disability

student loan forgiveness for disabled

You can send a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs verifying your disability rating and declaring that you are unable to work as a result of your disability if you are a veteran with a service-connected disability.

If you have private student loans, speak with your loan servicer about how to demonstrate your impairment. Many private student lenders have their own disability documentation forms.

Certification from a doctor

To assist in identifying borrowers who may be qualified for a complete and permanent disability discharge, the US Department of Education has created a data match with the SSA and VA.

The US Department of Education will shortly automate the disability release procedure for qualifying veterans unless they are opt-out. Due to the need for new rules from the US Department of Education to permit the transfer, the automatic disability discharge procedure has been postponed.

How to Get a Federal Student Loan Discharge if you’re disabled

Complete the TPD Discharge Application and attach any supporting papers to apply for a total and permanent disability discharge.

The TPD Discharge Application is accessible in PDF format or through the website’s interactive online tool. Parts of the application form will be prefilled by the online tool. Do not utilize a TPD Discharge Application from another website since it may not be up to date.

If you tell Nelnet that you’re going to file for a TPD Discharge, they’ll keep your federal loans on hold for 120 days so you can finish the paperwork. When they receive the TPD Discharge application, and while it is being handled, your federal obligations will be deferred.

Borrowers might also appoint someone to file their applications on their behalf. Even if the borrower’s rep already has a power of attorney for the disabled borrower, an Applicant Representative Designation form must be submitted. To permit someone else to fill out forms on your behalf, you must fill out a form.

Private student loans can be forgiven due to disability

If you borrowed through a bank, credit union, or another private lender, your debt forgiveness options are likely to be more restricted. Even in the event of incapacity. In the event of a disability or death, certain lenders may forgive the outstanding sum.

Be prepared to give documentation of your handicap if your lender provides this option. Each lender will have its own application procedure and requirements.

Limitation on earnings

It’s important to note that earned money is prioritized above unearned income. Dividends, interest, and capital gains are not factored into the poverty line calculation. For example, benefit payments for disability and retirement are not considered earned income.

Earnings in any occupation, not only the one for which the borrower was trained, are subject to the earnings cap. The debtor must be unable to participate in any form of considerable gainful activity in order to meet the TPD Discharge conditions.

The period of the post-discharge monitoring does not apply to veterans whose debts are discharged owing to a VA judgment.

Is “forgiveness” the same as having your student loan debt “discharged”?

According to, the phrases “forgiveness”, “cancellation”, and “discharge” are practically synonymous. This forgiveness or cancellation is available if you are no longer obligated to pay your debts as a result of your job. Discharge occurs when you are no longer obligated to repay your loans owing to a total and permanent incapacity or the closing of the school where you acquired your loans.

Borrower’s Repayment Defense

student loan forgiveness for disabled

Students who attended a school that participated in fraudulent or unlawful tactics or closed abruptly were eligible for a federal student loan discharge under the borrower defense federal legislation. The Obama administration aimed to safeguard student borrowers from misleading student loan practices, which resulted in this relief. This consumer protection assisted student loan debtors who had been promised lucrative employment after attending a school that had abruptly shuttered.

Total and Complete Disability

Biden expanded the assistance to these fraudulent borrowers, as well as students with total and permanent disabilities. The federal government has traditionally asked these disabled pupils to submit paperwork over the course of a three-year monitoring period. Due to a lack of evidence, several students’ debt discharge status was revoked.

Biden has now exempted the yearly earnings paperwork for these students, allowing them to avoid submitting it. Due to infirmities and the covid epidemic, providing documentation was much more challenging.

Students who lost their status owing to a lack of filing have now been reinstated by the federal government. They have re-entered the discharged loan program in good standing.

If my husband or wife is disabled, can my student loans be forgiven?

If your spouse is disabled, you will not be eligible to get your federal student debts canceled. Your spouse, on the other hand, may be qualified for the Total and Permanent Disability Discharge Program. Which may cancel their student loan debt.

If my spouse is a 100 percent disabled veteran, am I eligible for student loan forgiveness for disabled? There is no student loan forgiveness for disabled options available for spouses of soldiers who are 100 percent disabled. While your disabled spouse may be able to pay off their debts, you will not be able to do so, even if you are the primary caregiver.

Is it possible to get my college loans erased if my child is disabled?

The Department of Education will not forgive the Parent PLUS Loans you took out on your child’s behalf if they become permanently disabled. However, if you become seriously incapacitated, it will forgive the loans you took out for yourself.

Similarly, if your child is disabled, several private lenders may cancel their loan debt. However, if you were a cosigner on those loans, you will be required to reimburse the lender. Negotiating a student loan settlement may be your only option for relief because most student loan debt never goes away.

Are there any disadvantages to requesting a discharge?

To acquire federal student loans in the future, you’ll have to jump through a few hoops. And if you seek a new loan within three years of your discharge, you’ll have to begin payments on the dismissed debt.

All discharges are currently tax-free (until Congress considers renewing the tax provision in 2025), but your state may tax you on the amount of the discharged debts. (For further information, contact your state’s tax agency.)

You are no longer subject to a three-year income monitoring period as of March 2021. Previously, if you earned more than a particular amount of money during the three years following your discharge (excluding disability benefits), your loan repayment obligation might be resumed. The maximum income permission for a family of two depends on your state’s poverty rules. The waiver of the post-discharge monitoring period is planned to last until January 31, 2022, the end of the COVID-19 emergency relief period. Veterans who are 100 percent disabled are exempt from the post-discharge monitoring period.

Important Guideline for Student Loan Forgiveness for Disabled 

Apply as soon as possible.

If you suspect you may be qualified for student loan forgiveness for disabled, contact your servicer as soon as possible.

If you have federal student loans, your servicer should automatically place them on deferment. This deferment implies that you will not have to pay anything while your application is being handled.

If you have debts that are in default while your Social Security payments are being withheld, your benefits may be temporarily delayed while your discharge application is being processed.

While your application is being assessed, certain private student creditors may suspend your monthly payments. It is critical to note that private student loans will continue to accrue interest. If your discharge request is refused, you may be charged interest.

Depending on the type of loan you have, you may be eligible for a modified repayment plan if you are not qualified for a debt discharge due to a permanent and complete disability.

An income-driven repayment plan is available to almost all federal student loan borrowers. Even if the debtor has no income, an income-driven repayment plan produces monthly payments depending on their income.

If you have private student loans and don’t qualify for a disability discharge, speak with your servicer about other options for payments.

Alternatives to Paying Off Student Loans

student loan forgiveness for disabled

There are still choices available if you’re having problems making your monthly payments while receiving other types of financial assistance:

File a request for extra forbearance or deferment once federal student loan payments start in February 2022. And include supporting proof of your financial hardship.

Request an income-driven repayment plan, which lowers your monthly payment to 10% to 20% of your discretionary income. Furthermore, these plans prolong your payback period to 20 or 25 years. After which, any leftover debt is canceled.

Look into employers that provide student debt repayment help programs if you are eligible to work.

Refinancing your student loans might offer you more control over your monthly payments. And possibly even lower your interest rate, but you should only do so if you don’t plan on using government advantages like forgiveness or income-driven repayment.

If you refinance federal student loans to a private lender, you will lose access to these perks.

Finally, while getting student loans dismissed in bankruptcy might be challenging, it is achievable in some circumstances. If your financial situation is bad, speak with a bankruptcy attorney to learn about your choices.

Final Thoughts

Whether you feel you qualify for student loan forgiveness for disabled or not, it’s critical to make your monthly payments on time every month. So you would prevent damaging your credit score. Remember that if you qualify for student loan forgiveness for disabled, you’ll get all of your payments returned as long as they were made after the effective date of your disability decision. While you’re at it, keep an eye on your credit to make sure no additional problems arise that might jeopardize your credit’s health.


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