Over 500,000 Are Eligible For Scholar Mortgage Forgiveness However The Authorities Hasn’t Acted, Group Says

CARBIS BAY, CORNWALL – JUNE 11: US President Joe Biden attends the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay on June … [+] November 2021 in Carbis Bay, Cornwall. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson receives heads of state and government from the USA, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and Canada at the G7 summit. This year the United Kingdom invited India, South Africa and South Korea to attend the Summit of Heads of State or Government as host countries and as the EU. (Photo by Leon Neal – WPA Pool / Getty Images)

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Over half a million student loan borrowers may be eligible for federal student debt relief, but the U.S. Department of Education has not acted.

The National Student Legal Defense Network (NSLDN) received data through a Freedom of Information Act request that found the department has identified more than 517,000 borrowers who are eligible for student loan cancellation programs of over 8 billion. The TPD Discharge Program enables student loan borrowers who are unable to maintain a substantial job due to a physical or mental medical impairment to maintain a substantial job to fully cancel their federal student loan.

However, in order to receive student loan waiver under the TPD Discharge program, borrowers with disabilities must submit a formal application. The application process can be challenging, especially for borrowers who have severe physical or mental impairments that affect their ability to perform routine tasks. The Department of Education has the power to automatically issue a TPD dismissal to disabled student loan borrowers receiving Social Security Disability Benefits if they have at least five to seven years to review the disability. The Social Security Administration has identified hundreds of thousands of disabled student loan borrowers eligible for relief under the program, and the agency has shared this information with the Department of Education. But the ministry did not act. Many borrowers may not even realize they qualify.

“The department has made the TPD discharge process unnecessarily cumbersome for borrowers with disabilities,” said Alex Elson, vice president of NSLDN. “They know who these borrowers are, they know they are eligible for relief, and there is just no good reason they can’t afford it now.”

In April, organizations advocating for student loan borrowers filed a formal petition with the Department of Education to put pressure on the department to streamline the TPD layoff program. The organizations enclosed a letter calling on the ministry to act.

“The ministry’s bureaucracy prevents hundreds of thousands of borrowers with disabilities from receiving the facilities they are entitled to by law,” said the letter from student, consumer and disability advocates.


The Biden government has taken some steps to address the troubled TPD layoff program. Earlier this year, the administration announced it would ease the bureaucratic requirements for the TPD discharge program by temporarily eliminating post-discharge monitoring times during the COVID-19 pandemic. And last month, the Department of Education announced the start of a lengthy negotiated rulemaking process to review and possibly revise key federal student loan programs, including the TPD layoff program, as well as other programs such as income-based repayment and public service loan lending.

Meanwhile, the administration is conducting a legal review to see if Biden has the power to go further and extinguish large-scale student loan debt through executive action. The results of this review could be published in the coming months.

further reading

The Biden government announces a major overhaul of income-based repayment and student loan programs

Will Biden cancel the student loan debt? Maybe we will know soon

Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Review: Should You Take Steps Now to Relieve Student Debt Later?

If Biden doesn’t cancel the student loan debt, could he do so instead?

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