In addition to the other types of administrative discharge of student loans, the total and permanent disability discharge, or TPD, is a way to discharge your federal student loans without the need for a bankruptcy. Individuals with severe and permanent disabilities that have student debt can struggle mightily to repay this debt because they cannot work. Even if you been found disabled by the Social Security Administration, the US Department of Education may not inform you about your option to have your student debt discharged. Our experienced student loan lawyers can help.
Does disability discharge student loans?
Yes! If you can prove you meet the requirements of the total and permanent disability discharge program and have a student loan which qualifies for discharge, your student loans can be discharged!
What types of student loans are dischargeable under the total and permanent disability discharge program?
A total and permanent disability discharge can provide relief to individuals having to repay federal student loans including a William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program loan, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loan, and/or Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) Program loan or complete a TEACH Grant service obligation on the basis of your total and permanent disability.
How can you show that you are totally and permanently disabled?
To qualify for a TPD discharge, you must be able to show that you are totally and permanently disabled, not simply that you are hurt and cannot work for a short period of time. In the event that an individual with a federal student loan passes away, the loan will be discharged.
There are generally three different ways for an individual to show that he/she is totally and permanently disabled:
- You are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income benefits (SSI)
- You have a certification from a doctor
- You are a veteran with a service-connected disability
We will go into further detail about each of the potential ways to show total and permanent disability below.
Receiving SSDI or SSI
To show TPD based on receiving SSDI or SSI involves a next scheduled disability review with the Social Security Administration within 5 to 7 years of the date of your most recent Social Security Administration disability determination. If this is the case, then you can apply for a total and permanent disability discharge of your student debt. It is important that all of the necessary documentation is included in your application because you will be denied if you fail to include said documentation.
The fact that you are found disabled by the Social Security Administration is not enough in its own right to get a TPD discharge. You must have a disability that is “unlikely to improve” as defined by the Social Security regulations. In other words, it’s possible you’re “disabled” but not automatically eligible for TPD discharge.
That’s where we come in. We can obtain the documentation you need to show you qualify for a total and permanent disability discharge.
If you are on SSDI and your review period with the Social Security Administration is less than 5 years OR you do not have Social Security Disability, then you must receive a certification from your doctor certifying that you are totally and permanently disabled and unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity. In order to qualify for TPD discharge, this certification must state that the disability is a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that meet the correct time period requirements.
The doctor can include a Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, or psychiatrist that is licensed to practice in the United States.
Veteran with a service-connected disability
If you are a veteran with a service-connected disability that is 100% disabling or you are totally disabled based upon an individual unemployability rating, then you can apply for a total and permanent disability discharge. To apply based on this type of TPD, you must include any documentation that proves that you are a veteran and 100% disabled. This documentation can generally be obtained from the VA.
How do I apply for a TPD discharge?
Applying for TPD can present many complications and can become an onerous process. There can be several documents that need to be requested from other entities and applied to your application. Additionally, if you require a certification from a doctor, you must ensure that all of the necessary wording and information is included in said certification. This can be problematic if you attempt to secure the certification from a doctor on your own.
This is where our experience student loan lawyers come in. We have extensive knowledge in both student loan law as well as social security disability law, so we can ensure that all of the necessary requirements are met, and you have all the required documentation to correctly apply for a total and permanent disability discharge.
What is the approval process for a TPD discharge?
Your application and supporting documents will be reviewed by the US Department of Education to determine if you satisfy the requirements for a TPD discharge. For approval of a total and permanent disability discharge based upon a veteran with a service-connected disability, your student debt will be discharged with no further monitoring.
For approval of a total and permanent disability discharge outside of veteran TPD, you will be subject to monitoring by the US Department of Education and there is the potential for you student loan obligation to be reinstated if you meet one of the events during the 3-year post-discharge monitoring period. An example of one of these events would be if your annual income for any of the 3 years following discharge exceeds the poverty guideline amount for a family of two in your state, regardless of your actual family size.
There are a few other events that can reinstate your student loan obligation. Our experienced student loan lawyers can ensure that your application and supporting documents are correct and satisfy the necessary requirements and also ensure that you continue on the right path toward discharge during the 3-year monitoring period.
Do not miss out on a chance to discharge your student loans simply because of faulty paperwork or failed requirements during the monitoring period.
What happens if you are denied a TPD discharge?
If your application for TPD discharge is denied, you will be notified, via mail, of the reason for the denial and the collection activity on your student loan will continue. It is important to note that the process for applying for total and permanent disability discharge can take some time, so working with our experienced student loan lawyers can not only greatly increase your chances of a successful TPD discharge, but also save you from the wasted time and increased stress that comes with a denied application.
Contact a total and permanent disability discharge lawyer today
The TPD discharge is one of the most used and successful of the administrative discharge options offered for federal student loans. It can be extremely helpful for individuals suffering from disabilities that prevent them from obtaining gainful employment and in turn, causing them to struggle with student loan debt. ARM Lawyers can skillfully guide you through the application process and ensure that you continue on the right track toward a TPD discharge.