You might be eligible for loan forgiveness if you have difficulty repaying your student loans due to a total and permanent disability discharge. The U.S. Department of Education developed the Total and Permanent Disability Discharge (TPD program) to help students who cannot repay their loans because of disability. You could get your federal student loans completely forgiven if the disability discharge is granted.

What is Disability discharge?

The U.S. Federal Government offers total and permanent disability discharge, which allows for the forgiveness of student loans and service obligations. It’s only applicable to federal student debt and teaches Grant obligations.

Student Loans Qualify for Disability Discharge

These types of loans are the only ones eligible for TPD discharging.

  • William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan
  • Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL),
  • Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan)

Obligation for Disability Discharge or TEACH Grant Service

If you meet the total and permanent disability criteria, it could also free you from any service obligation resulting from TEACH grants.

Also Read:

Who Qualifies For Disability Discharge

If you want your student loans, TEACH Grant, or other obligations to be discharged because of total and permanent disability, you must show the Department of Education proof of your disability.

  • TPD discharge means total and permanent disability.
  • A medically determinable mental or physical impairment restricts your ability to participate in substantial gainful activity.
  • You can expect to die.
  • It can be expected last for a continuous 60-month period or longer.
  • The continuous duration of the warranty has been at least 60 consecutive months.

Applying for Total or Permanent Disability Discharge

To apply for a TPD discharge, you must follow the three steps below: opening an application, proving total and persistent disability in one or more of these ways, and finally, submitting your application and supporting documents.

First Step: Create An Application

There are 3 ways to start your TPD discharge petition.

  • Make an Online Application

The Disability Discharge website allows you to begin your TPD application online. It makes it much easier to fill out some sections.

  • Click here for an online TPD application.
  • Print a Blank Form
  • Or, you can choose to start your application by filling out a blank form.
  • You can request an application by phone or email.
  • If you don’t have access to a printing machine, you can request a paper application over the phone or by email.
  • Phone: (888) 303-7818 Office Hours are Monday to Friday, 8:00 am – 8:00 pm (ET).
  • Saturday, 8:00 AM (ET) – 7:00 P.M.
  • Sunday Closed
  • Email:

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Step 2 Show Total and Permanent Disability

Your plan to demonstrate total and permanent disability will determine the next stage of your application. There are three ways you can submit your application to show that the qualifications apply to you:

Physician Certification

You can request a physician’s certification to be entirely and permanently disabled. Your doctor must be able to confirm that you cannot engage in substantial gainful work because of a medically determinable disability.

Veterans Affairs

Veterans may provide documentation from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs that shows the VA’s determination of ineligibility for employment because of a service-connected disability.

Social Security Award

The Social Security Administration can issue a notice of award to you for SSDI or SSI benefits. The information must indicate that your following scheduled disabled review will occur within five- to seven years after your last disability determination.

Step 3. Complete the remaining sections of your application

Whether you applied online or filled out a blank form, you must print Section 3 or 4. Depending on the method used to demonstrate total and permanent disabilities.

You need to provide additional documentation and specific information for each total and permanent impairment type when you apply for TPD discharging.

Physician Certification

To apply for TPD Discharge using a Doctor’s Certification, follow the steps below:

  • Complete the three first sections of the TPD Discharge Application.
  • Have a licensed physician D.O. Section 4 of your application was completed by a physician.
  • Please submit the application within 90 calendar days of the date when your physician signed it.

Veteran’s affairs

Here are the steps to follow if you wish to apply for TPD Discharge using Veterans Affairs Certification.

  • Complete the three first sections of the TPD Discharge Application.
  • Send along the documentation of your VA decision.

Social Security Award

Here are the steps to follow if you wish to request TPD discharge using your Social Security Award notification.

  • Complete the three first sections of the TPD Discharge Application.
  • Please attach a copy of the SSA notice of award and Benefits Planning Query.

Also Read:

Things to know when applying for a disability discharge

It would be best to have several things before and after applying for a disability discharge.

Apply with a Representative

If you are incapable of doing so, a representative will complete and submit your Total or Permanent Disability discharge application. First, your representative must complete an Applicant Representation Form (even if you have power of attorney).

What Happens If You Apply?

The Department of Education will contact you or the holder of your TEACH Grant obligation once your application has been received. After that, the collection activity will stop until a decision has been made. Depending on your case’s complexity, it may take three to five months to determine.

If you have a loan in default and it is being paid with wage garnishment (or Treasury Offset), the garnishment/offset process will continue.

After a determination is made based on your provided information, you will get final approval or denial via mail.

If you are approved

If your TPD application is approved, the Department of Education will contact your lenders and the holder of your TEACH Grant service obligation with instructions for discharging.

The Department will instruct your lenders that they refund student loan payments after your disability.

You must meet specific requirements during the three-year post-approval monitoring period after you have paid off your student loans or discharged any service obligation.

If You’re Denied

If your TPD application is denied, Department will instruct your lenders or the TEACH service obligation holder to continue collecting as before. You will receive an email informing you of the rejection and the reason. There will also be information on what you can do if you disagree or have any questions.

Also Read:

Conditions for Approval of Disability Discharge

You need to understand these stipulations if a Total and Permanent Disability Discharge application is considered.

Three-Year Post-Discharge Monitoring Period

Approval for a TPD Discharge will mean that you will be subject to three years of monitoring. The Department of Education can monitor your financial activities during this period. They are entitled to reinstate any loans or service obligations in the following situations:

  • Your annual earnings in employment are higher than the Poverty Guideline for two families in your state, regardless of household size.
  • You get a notice from the SSA advising you about terminating your disability review after five to seven years.
  • You get a disbursement from a Direct Loan/Perkins Loan or TEACH Loan received before the discharge day. If you don’t return the total allotment within 120-days, the issuance will be deemed forfeited.
  • You get a new Perkins Loan, Direct Loan, or TEACH Grant.
  • Notify the Department of Education if you have:
  • You must exceed the poverty limit for a couple in your state.
  • Modify your address and phone number
  • You may be asked to produce documentation of your annual earnings.

Receive a notice of the SSA stating you are no more totally and permanently handicapped or that your disability evaluation will not be within the five-to-seven-year review period.

If you fail to comply with the three-year monitoring requirements and your loans/service obligations are reinstated, you’ll receive a letter. This letter will contain information on why your TPD was discharged, when the first payment is due and how you can contact the Department of Education for any questions or disagreements.

Ineligibility For New Loans and Grants for TEACH Students

Suppose you are approved for Total & Permanent Disability Discharge. In that case, you can’t apply for new student loans unless you get a letter of approval from a physician stating that you can engage in substantial gainful activity. Additionally, you must agree that your new student loan cannot be discharged again based solely on any illness or injury you may have suffered before applying for the Loan. You may reapply for disability relief if you have a new condition.

In 2018, any balance on student loans that are forgiven and any compensation refunded you from previously made payments will no longer be taxable income.

Trump’s 2018 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act made this a significant step forward. Before this, borrowers would have had to pay taxes for the amount of the disbursed Loan.

Also Read:

Alternatives to Discharge and Forgiveness

TPD discharge is not your only option for federal student loan disbursement if you’re permanently disabled.

U.S. Department of Education has income-driven repayment (IDR) plans available to those who have trouble making monthly payments on federal student loans. The most common is IBR (Hypertextual Income-Based Repayment), but you may also be eligible to pay as you earn (PAYE), Revised, Pay As You Earn (REPAYE), and Income-Contingent Repayment.

While each income-driven repayment option may have different requirements and repayment options, the idea behind each is to base your monthly repayment on your income rather than what you owe. An IDR plan is a viable option for TPD release if you have significant student loan balances and low income.

Find out More about Disability Discharge

To be able to pay off student loans if you are permanently or completely disabled, Total and Permanent Disability Discharge could be the best choice. Contact us if you have any questions or if we can assist with TPD Discharge.

Alex Gold

Alex Gold

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SLFA is a private company and does not claim to be affiliated with any Federal, State, or Local Government agencies. People with student loan debt have the legal right to use an attorney or process federal student loan documentation on their own behalf without paid assistance. Our mission is to provide people with the credit repair, knowledge, information, and document preparation service they need to deal with all the financial decisions to find what they need and return to life effortlessly.

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