In a historic move by the federal government, student loan forgiveness may be available for hundreds of thousands of disabled Americans -- to the tune of nearly $7.7 billion. At the center of the decision was the recognition that many disabled individuals were being unfairly forced to accept lower monthly disability benefits due to garnishments and deductions imposed under the Treasury Offset Program. Specifically, the Department of Education was relying on the program to garnish the disability benefits of those who had defaulted on their student loans -- which was by and large caused by the borrower’s disability in the first place. In response to this non-sensical system, the Department of Education has vowed to proactively alert borrowers if they are eligible for a Total and Permanent Disability discharge (TPD), which will help ensure greater financial security for an estimated 387,000 Americans.
Under the new procedures, the Department of Education will be working closely with the Social Security Administration to identify benefits recipients who are categorized as Medical Improvement Not Expected, or “MINE.” From there, the Department will work to identify those classified as MINE who are also actively in repayment of their student loans.
Beginning on April 18, 2016, those borrowers identified as eligible for TPD discharge will be notified via letter explaining the necessary steps to take advantage of the loan discharge. Borrowers identified under this system will not be required to submit verification of their disability, and will be offered a streamlined approach to the discharge.
In a statement by the Department of Education, “[u]nder the new process, we will notify potentially eligible borrowers about the benefit and guide them through steps needed to discharge their loans, helping thousands of borrowers. Americans with disabilities have a right to student loan relief. And we need to make it easier, not harder, for them to receive the benefits they are due.”
Contact an experienced disability attorney today!
If you are struggling to meet the demands of your job and believe you may be eligible for disability benefits, please contact Peña & Bromberg, PLC today: 559-644-0031.