When you were in school you may have taken out some hefty loans with plans to make enough money to pay them back. But if you have been seriously injured in an accident or you are impaired by a disease or a mental illness you may be having difficulty paying them off.

If this is your situation, I have some good news for you. Student loan debt relief is available to for those drawing Social Security disability payments. If you are totally and permanently disabled, you may qualify for a discharge of your federal student loans or TEACH Grant service obligation and you will no longer be required to repay your loans or complete your service obligation.

To erase your old debt you must first demonstrate that you are totally and permanently disabled.

If you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits, you can submit a Social Security Administration notice of award for benefits. It must state that your next scheduled disability review will be within 5 to 7 years from the date of your most recent Social Security disability determination. Or you can submit certification from a doctor that you are totally and permanently disabled.

The Department of Education prefers that you first contact your loan servicer to start the Total and Permanent Disability discharge process. You can also start the process online.

Once your application is approved, you will be required to provide your financial information annually for a period of three years. If you don’t comply with this requirement, your loan obligation will be reinstated. After three years of faithfully providing your financial information, your student loan debt will be erased. Bear in mind, however, that since loan forgiveness is considered income, there may be tax ramifications.

If you are considering applying for Social Security disability or if you have been turned down for disability benefits, give us a call for a free evaluation of your case.

Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska