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Automatic Student Loan Forgiveness for People with Disabilities

Breaking News: Thanks to a new decision by the U.S. Department of Education, many people with disabilities will receive automatic student loan forgiveness through the Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge program!

What is a Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge?

If you have a disability and are unable to work because of your medical condition, you might not have to pay off your remaining student loan balance.

The TPD Discharge program allows qualified people with disabilities to “discharge” their loans (have payments forgiven). This applies to loans through the Direct Loan Program, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, Perkins Loan Program, and a TEACH grant.

To be eligible, you must prove you are:

  • A veteran with a service connected disability;
  • Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI); or
  • Totally and permanently disabled, according to your licensed doctor.

If your student loan is forgiven, you do not have to pay federal income tax on the amount of the loan forgiven.

What’s changed?

Before the U.S. Department of Education’s decision to provide automatic student loan forgiveness for people with disabilities, you had to submit an application to receive a TPD discharge for a student loan, even if you had already qualified for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Now, if you qualify, you do not have to fill out an application to receive a TPD discharge. If you are receiving SSI or SSDI, you will automatically receive your TPD discharge by the end of this year.

Even with these changes, navigating the costs of education while managing a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming.

Triage Cancer is here to help. Our Quick Guide to Education Rights & Financial Help can help you get started managing the costs of cancer and education. For information on cancer finances and education rights, visit triagecancer.org/cancer-finances-education.

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