What happens if you become disabled after going to school and now you can’t work, so are collecting Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (“SSDI” or “disability benefits”) but you still have student loans?
Well, depending on a number of factors, if you have federal student loans and can qualify, you might be eligible for a “total and permanent disability” (“TDP”) discharge.
What is a TDP?
A total and permanent disability discharge is a federal law that allows students who qualify to have their student loans “discharged” or forgiven. If you qualify for a TDP (and it’s not easy to) you will not have to pay back your federal student loans.
Note that this applies only to federal student loans. It does not apply to any state or private loans you may have taken to get you through school.
If you qualify, you may be able to get a TDP discharge for the following federal loans:
- William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program loans,
- Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans,
- Federal Perkins Loans, or
- Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant service obligations.
What Do You Need to Qualify?
To qualify for a TDP discharge, you need to be “disabled” according to the federal student loan discharge rules. And if you thought it was difficult to obtain disability benefits when you applied to the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) qualifying under the federal loan discharge rules is far more difficult.
The federal loan discharge rules require, in part, that you provide a copy of your SSA notice of award if you are receiving SSDI benefits, showing that your next scheduled disability review will be in 5 to 7 years from the date you apply for the TDP discharge. You also need to provide certification from your doctor certifying that:
- you are unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity due to a physical or mental impairment that
- can be expected to result in death;
- has lasted for a continuous period of at least 60 months; or
- can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 60 months.
Don’t be fooled here: the federal definition of “substantial gainful activity” is not the same as the SSA’s definition of that term, so before you apply, make sure you carefully review all the applicable law and rules.
We are Disability Counsel Serving Kansas, Illinois and Oklahoma.
If you have questions about social security disability benefits, or have been denied benefits, call us. We are social security disability attorneys dedicated to getting our clients the disability benefits they deserve. We have offices throughout Missouri and in Kansa, in Illinois, and in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. We offer free consultations and we do not get paid unless you win your case. Call us at 855-727-8625 or contact us today to set up your free appointment.