You have probably heard all of the conversations around student loans in recent years. They are the one debt that a person cannot get rid of, even with a bankruptcy. In the past, people’s social security benefit payments have been garnished to pay back these debts. There is one exception to this scenario of which people with disabilities should be aware.
If you are disabled and have qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you may qualify for what is known as a total and permanent disability discharge. Federal loans can be wiped away if you have a permanent physical or mental disability which prevents you from working.
The government has even refunded some of the funds taken from permanently disabled people whose benefits had been garnished. The U.S. Department of Education, the department under which federal student loans fall, has taken steps to increase the information about this exact scenario.
The government is now including a notice in disability paperwork explaining this exact program. The government has made it clear that they are looking for those people who may be eligible and are contacting them about their eligibility. It is estimated that up to 400,000 people may qualify.
Persis Yu, the National Consumer Law Center’s student loan borrower assistance project director, said the following: “The creation of the matching program is a great first step, but the administration needs to go further to ensure that no borrower who has a right to student loan relief has their benefits taken. Borrowers receiving SSDI need these payments to survive.”