You may be eligible to have your student loan debt forgiven if you are approved for Social Security Disability. Being unable to work due to illness or an injury can mean a devastating loss of income, which SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) will help to alleviate. If you are also burdened by student loan debt, you may qualify for a student loan debt discharge. You should know, however that being accepted into the SSDI program does not automatically qualify you for the loan forgiveness program. To learn more about how to get your student loan debt discharged, read below.
The Total and Permanent Disability Discharge Program (TPD)
This program allows people who can no longer work at their job the ability to discharge their student loan debt if the loan was procured through the following programs:
- Federal Perkins Loans
- William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program
- Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Service
- Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL)
Guidelines for TPD Qualification
To qualify for the TPD program, you must exceed the minimum medical requirements that the Social Security Administration has for its two main disability programs; Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI). The TPD program specifies that you must not be able to do Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) for 60 months (or five years) as compared to the other SSA programs that only require SGA for one year.
SSA does have a class of disability known as Medical Improvement Not Expected (MINE), which will qualify you for the TPD program.
Points to Keep in Mind
- A separate application for each student loan is needed.
- You cannot engage in SGA (earn over the specified amount of money) and your income will be monitored from time to time.
- Obtaining a new student loan will be difficult, if not impossible.
- You may get more information about the Total Permanent Disability program and apply online.
- All collection activities for your student loan debt will be temporarily suspended for 120 days (about four months), once you contact the TPD program, allowing you time to submit your paperwork. Collection activity will resume if you fail to submit your paperwork by the 120-day deadline.
The qualification for SSDI can be a complicated and time-consuming process, and denial and appeals are commonplace. If you cannot get approved for Social Security Disability, it's very unlikely that you will qualify for the Total Permanent Disability program. Contact a Social Security attorney, like those at Horn & Kelley, PC Attorneys at Law, to help you get your claim approved and to stand by you for your appeal hearings if needed.