Many of us take out student loans from the federal government in order to obtain a degree, and then work for many years to pay off the debt. However, if a serious disability strikes, a person may no longer be able to work or continue making loan payments.
The good news is that people who qualify for Social Secuirty Disability benefits because of a total and permanent disability are also often able to have their federal student loans forgiven.
Additionally, people who have not worked long enough to qualify for SSDI but who qualify for Supplemental Security Income may also be eligible to have their federal student loans forgiven.
Like all government benefits, though, the application process can be confusing. Essentially, there are three ways to qualify to have your federal student loans discharged after a total and permanent disability.
First is by submitting a certification from your doctor stating that you are totally and permanently disabled. This means that you are unable to engage in gainful employment because of a mental or physical disability that is expected to last six months or longer or result in death.
The second way to qualify is by supplying your notice of award from the Social Security Administration for SSDI or SSI. The notice of award should state that your next disability review will be within five to seven years.
Veterans who suffered a service-related disability can also supply documentation from the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs stating that you are unable to work because of a service-related injury in order to have federal student loans forgiven.
Being unable to work because of a serious injury or condition can be extremely stressful. However, in addition to SSDI or SSI benefits, disabled individuals may be able to have their federal student loans forgiven, which can lift a large financial burden.
Source: Hometown Focus, “Getting a federal student loan discharged,” Senior Legal Line, Jan. 3, 2014