320,000 People with Permanent Disabilities Will Be Forgiven Student Debt of $5.8 Billion

The Department of Education has perfected plans to cancel $5.8 billion of student loans owed by more than 320,000 people with permanent disabilities. The US government will use data from the Social Security Administration to automatically identify people who will be forgiven their student debt. Such people with permanent disabilities will see that their debts have been canceled by September.

Based on this development, the Department of Education announced that identified and disabled student loan debtors will no longer be required to share their earnings with the authorities after they have their debts canceled in September. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said the debt relief is in response to the demands of advocates and the initiative of President Joe Biden.

“We’ve heard loud and clear from borrowers with disabilities and advocates about the need for this change, and we are excited to follow through on it,” Cardona said. “Today’s action removes a major barrier that prevented far too many borrowers with disabilities from receiving the total and permanent disability discharges they are entitled to under the law. This change reduces red tape with the aim of making processes as simple as possible for borrowers who need support.”

The Biden administration has also forgiven the loans of students who went to for-profit schools since most of them are not able to service the debts. But people are asking President Biden to remove $50,000 from the debt profile of all borrowers in the country. Biden is not sure he can do that through executive action, but Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he can.

“You don’t need Congress,” Senator Schumer stated. “All you need is the flick of a pen.”

A lot of people praised the government for the initiative implemented under the federal Total and Permanent Disability Discharge program, which had been in effect since 1965. Persis Yu, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, said the initiative would be very helpful to hundreds of thousands of loan defaulters who are now permanently disabled and unable to repay.

“This is a huge deal for the hundreds of thousands of borrowers who are entitled to this relief and frankly, it’s very long overdue,” said Persis Yu, who added that “we also hope that the department will look at the eligibility criteria that it uses to determine when someone has a disability discharge.”