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Department of Education to forgive some SSD program student loans

The complexities of the Social Security Administration's disability program are well known. Many apply and few are accepted, and the reasons are varied. Some may not understand the scope of the program's definition of disability and apply when they fail to meet the eligibility requirements.

Others may try to apply on their own and become overwhelmed by the complexity of the paperwork and the process. They may not understand the instructions or what SSA demands in terms of proof of their disability. Others may have a valid impairment and would qualify, but fail to include adequate documentation.

The complexities of these programs can be a problem for the intended beneficiaries. This was shown recently by an attempt to help discharge student loans for some beneficiaries. 

In 2012, the Obama administration attempted to help those who were receiving SSD benefits by offering a program that would have allowed them to request loan forgiveness for their Department of Education student loans.

The program was less than successful, as many could not get the proper paperwork submitted and many simply remain unaware of the program. Last week, the administration announced that it would take the step of identifying those with severe impairments who are never expected to improve, and provide them with a simple form to request loan forgiveness.

Instead of submitting a complex series of documents, individuals classified as "medical improvement not expected," would only have to provide a signature to obtain the loan discharge. This can be important if they have an income tax refund that could otherwise be garnished to pay their loans.

For many people facing the challenges of disability, complex bureaucratic processes may only add to their stress. Working with an attorney on your application can help reduce some of this stress. This new program recognizes these struggles and provides a way of reducing that stress and the financial burden of student loans.

Source:, "Obama Administration to Forgive Billions in Student Debt for Disabled Americans," Josh Mitchell, April 12, 2016

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