If Social Security finds that you are disabled, you can get relief from your student loan debt. This has been the case since 2016. A recent investigation by National Public Radio (NPR), however, finds that many disabled people are not getting their student loans discharged.
The Word Is Not Getting Around
One of the surprising reasons that so few people have benefited is that hardly anyone knows about the law. Critics suggest that the Department of Education
(DOE) is not doing enough to inform disabled debtors of their right to loan forgiveness. It is tempting to infer mal-intent from this, that the DOE is conspiring with banks to keep the disabled in debt. But, the more likely explanation is simple incompetence. For example, when the Obama administration tried to contact disabled debtors, they discovered their database of names and addresses was out of date.
Traps For The Unwary
Once disabled debtors do apply, their troubles do not end. The process of getting student-loan debt erased is filled with bureaucracy and traps for the unwary. Even if the application makes it through, it can still take years to get approved. During this time, many debtors go into default and see their credit ruined. Some even have their disability checks garnished to pay for loans that the lenders should have canceled.
Little More Than 1 in 4 Get Debt Relief
The numbers are daunting. Despite the fact that DOE claims to have discharged the student loans for 40% of those eligible, NPR found that the real number was much lower, 28%. Approximately 550,000 Americans have become eligible for debt forgiveness since the law took effect in 2016. Of those, only about 200,00
have gotten relief. Of that lucky group, almost one in four have had their loans reinstated due to various issues.
Disabled Debtors Share Some Blame
Not all the fault lies with the government. Some debtors simply don't respond to offers of debt relief or comply with the requirements to get their applications
finished. For example, those conditionally granted loan forgiveness are required to report their incomes for three years. Too many people fail to do this and get tossed out of the program.
Disabled Veterans Fare Better
Disabled veterans will get better treatment soon. Shortly, their student loan debt will be canceled automatically. This is a good start and it shows the DOE can provide effective debt relief. But, for now, disabled non-veterans are stuck trying to get their student loans discharged.
Find Out Now If You Qualify For Student Loan Debt Forgiveness
If you are disabled and have student loan debt, immediately investigate this law to see if you can get relief. You will likely have to be persistent and thorough, but it would be worth it in the end.