The Federal government can cancel some or part of your federal student loan (not private student loans) under certain circumstances. This is known as “student loan forgiveness”, and you will need to prove that you meet certain criteria in order to qualify for this type of loan cancellation. If you are disabled, and cannot work or earn a substantial income to pay back your student loan because of your disability, you may qualify for student loan forgiveness.
Here’s a breakdown of how this process works, and whether your disability might make you eligible for the program:
Qualifying for Student Loan Forgiveness with a Disability
Your student loan can be discharged if you meet the following conditions or under the following circumstances:
- You become totally or permanently disabled after your student loan was granted
- A physician, doctor of medicine or osteopathy doctor can certify that you are permanently disabled and that you meet some other requirements during a three-year conditional discharge period
It’s important to remember that just because a state agency or federal agency, such as the Social Security Administration, has declared you as “disabled”, this does not mean that you will be automatically eligible for student loan forgiveness. You will need to meet a separate set of requirements and prove eligibility of your condition in order to have your student loan discharged by the Federal government.
Reasons Why You Will NOT Qualify for Student Loan Forgiveness
You will not qualify for a discharge of some or all of your student loans under the following conditions:
- You became impaired before you applied for the loan
- You had a medical condition before applying for a student loan, unless you became increasingly impaired after the loan was granted and your medical condition has rendered you permanently disabled
- You were totally or permanently disabled before you applied for your student loan
Veterans Qualifying for Student Loan Forgiveness
If you can provide formal documentation from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs that shows you are unemployable because of a disability that occurred from your service, you may be eligible for student loan forgiveness. The documentation will need to show that you were disabled during service, and are unable to secure gainful employment because of this disability. Veterans who do qualify under this standard do not have to undergo a three-year conditional discharge period. They can have their student loans completely discharged after showing appropriate documentation.
Requesting Student Loan Forgiveness
If you do feel you are entitled to student loan forgiveness, you will need to complete an official discharge application form and also have your doctor fill out the appropriate areas. You can download the form here. In addition to a completed form, you can send your most recent demand letter for your student loan that shows the balance owed and proof of any payments that have been made.
Everything will need to be sent to:
U.S. Department of Education
National Payment Center
P.O. Box 5609
Greenville, TX 75403
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