As it stands now, a student who develops a severe and lasting disability while in college may potentially have his or her student loans forgiven by the U.S. Department of Education, but only after the department conducts an investigation separate of the Social Security Administration’s. This means that a student must undergo two very similar reviews—one from the SSA and one from the Education Department—before his student loans are potentially forgiven.
ProPublica and The Chronicle of Higher Education both report that—in spite of the department’s vow to dramatically reform a program that is troublesome and time-consuming for disabled students and costly for the government—“the department’s dysfunctional process for evaluating disability is keeping many genuinely disabled applicants in debt.” Furthermore, ProPublica asserts that the Department has reneged on its promises six months ago to align itself with the Social Security Administration’s determinations about a person’s disability.
The Education Department began a series of public meetings in May to discuss writing new rules. In October these rules will be agreed upon in sessions that bring together department officials, representatives of colleges, student-loan companies, and borrower advocates.
Do you think the Department of Education should conduct a separate investigation into a student’s disability or just go with the Social Security Administration’s ruling?
If you need help with your Social Security Disability benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.
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