Yes, it is possible to get your federal student loan balance forgiven if you become totally and permanently disabled. If you are on Social Security Disability with a 5- or 7-year review, then the Department of Education will accept that as evidence of disability.

However, if it is on a 3-year review, or were turned down for Social Security Disability, then there are certain criteria that must be met. In order to be eligible for this forgiveness. You must prove that you are unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity due to a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that

  • can be expected to result in death,
  • has lasted for a continuous period of at least five (5) years, or
  • can be expected to last for an additional continuous period of at least five (5) years

Does Being a Veteran Help?

If you are a veteran, however, you may be eligible if you’ve received a determination from the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) that

  • you have a service-related disability or disabilities that are totally disabling or
  • you are totally disabled based on an Individual Unemployability determination.

You can apply for this discharge for your William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (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 obligation.

There is a separate application process through the U.S. Department of Education that must be followed, but is certainly worth the effort.

So What Do I Do?

If you would like more information about student loans, you can dowload my free book, I Graduated; Now What? A Guide to Dealing with Your Student Loans.

If you live in southern New Jersey and would like to consult with me on your loans, please feel free to call my office at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site to schedule an appointment in my Woodbury office to discuss your case.

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Steven J. Richardson
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Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.