For many years, credit card debt ranked as one of the foremost financial challenges facing Americans. However, things have changed rather dramatically over the last decade such that credit card debt has been largely supplanted by federal student loan debt.
If you don’t believe it, just enter the term “student loan debt” into any search engine and scan the results. After just a few links, you’ll see firsthand how much of a struggle it is for people to pay back this debt they accrued to finance their education.
As difficult as it can be for people working a full-time job to pay off their federal student loans, consider how much more difficult — or impossible — it is for those people are no longer able to work due to a serious disability.
Fortunately, all is not lost for people in these situations as those who qualify for Social Security disability benefits due to the onset of a total and permanent disability may be able to discharge their federal student loan debt.
In general, experts indicate that there are three different ways in which a person can demonstrate to the Department of Education that they are totally and permanently disabled so as to discharge their federal student loans:
- Submit a certification from a licensed M.D. or D.O. with your discharge application indicating that you are totally and permanently disabled. Here, total and complete disability means you can’t engage in any sort of paid employment due to a mental or physical impairment that has lasted for six months, will continue for six months or longer, or will result in death.
- Submit a notice of award from the Social Security Administration for SSDI benefits with your discharge application. The notice of award should state that the next scheduled disability review will occur within five to seven years of the previous review.
- If you are a veteran, submit documentation from the Department of Veterans Affairs with your discharge application indicating that you can’t engage in any sort of paid employment because of a service-related disability.
Above all else, experts urge patience when seeking to have federal student loans discharged in this manner as the discharge application review process can take a significant amount of time.
If you believe that you have been wrongly denied SSD benefits or would like to learn more about SSD benefits, consider speaking with an experienced attorney dedicated to securing the assistance you need and deserve.
Source: Hometown Focus, “Getting a federal student loan discharged,” Jan. 3, 2014