- Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has canceled the student debt of more than 41,000 borrowers with disabilities.
- He also waived the obligation to provide income documents when requesting relief.
- People with a total permanent disability who can no longer work may be eligible for exemption from their student loan.
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Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Monday canceled the student debt of more than 41,000 borrowers with disabilities and cut red tape, easing the process for eligible borrowers to receive relief.
In a rule established under President Barack Obama, anyone considered totally and permanently disabled was eligible for student debt cancellation, with the obligation to submit documents for a three-year monitoring period to verify that their income. did not exceed the poverty line.
Cardona has waived the rule of submitting these documents, which will help 230,000 borrowers get debt relief.
“Borrowers with total and permanent disabilities should focus on their well-being, not putting their health on the line to submit income information during the COVID-19 emergency,” Cardona said in a statement.
People with total permanent disabilities who are eligible for student loan forgiveness are usually unable to work for the rest of their lives. This can include people who cannot work because they have physical or mental disabilities such as paralysis or blindness.
Here’s how borrowers with disabilities can qualify for a student loan discount, according to the DOE:
Veterans may qualify for a student loan forgiveness if the VA tells the DOE that the veteran has a “100% disabling” disability, which renders the person unfit for work. If so, the DOE will notify eligible veterans that they are eligible for student loan release, and if the veterans believe they are eligible but have never been contacted, they can submit an application with information from the VA proving their disability status.
Borrowers who receive Social Security disability insurance or additional security income benefits may also be eligible for a student loan discount. The DOE will contact borrowers who have scheduled a disability review between five and seven years from the date of their last SSA disability determination, and borrowers will not have to submit documents themselves.
If borrowers are receiving SSDI or SSI benefits but have not been contacted by DOE, they can apply and provide documentation of the benefits they are receiving.
The last way to get a student loan discount is to provide proof from a licensed physician. The doctor must certify that the borrower is totally and permanently disabled and unable to exercise any type of gainful activity caused by a physical or mental disability which:
- Can lead to death;
- lasted for a continuous period of at least 60 months;
- And can be expected to last a continuous period of at least 60 months.