Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Student Loans & Discharge?

Has anyone had any luck with getting student loans discharged due to permanent disability? I am working on paperwork now.

On one hand, my husband absolutely qualifies in terms of his impairment. He technically has a job, but requires accommodations for his disability in order to perform his job’s regular function, and has little realistic opportunity for advancement, which puts him down to pay off $100k in loans on about $15k/year.

On the other hand, we are married, and my income is sufficient to push us past the poverty line. I am worried that his application for discharge due to disability will be rejected because of our combined income. Or maybe they will say, because he’s employed…

I don’t know. I’m filling out forms, and forms, and forms, but I’m so overwhelmed. Does anyone have any experience with this?

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My husband was able to have his student loans discharged. He had sz, received SS disability payments and worked part-time,as allowed so as not to lose benefits.

I don’t remember how we did it (I, too, was working at the time). I think we just followed whatever procedure/paperwork was required.

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It’s good to know that it works! I’m working on filing the paperwork now, but I’m nervous we won’t qualify for various reasons. I don’t know if we’ll be rejected because of our combined income, or because he’s technically “full-time” (even though he requires accommodations for his disability to be able to be at work) etc.
His loans are close to 100k, and it’s crushing me to try to make the payments for both of our student loans, even with the adjusted amounts, etc.

Do you if the requirements are based on gross income or not?

The eligibility forms have some language that suggest their judgement is based on income. His salary from work is small, and basically covers his insurance and medication. If he were on his own, he’d be well below the poverty line. But when I was doing FSA paperwork, we had to submit our gross salary and I because our combined income is more, I am on the hook for his current payments. I hate it because I start to worry that we might have to get “divorced” for his to get his loans forgiven! What a ridiculous world!

Just to let you know I was told your SSA review has to be every 5-7 years to qualify for discharge. My SSA disability review is suppose to happen ever 3 years which is why I didnt qualify for discharge. I paid my loans off though. A 5-7 year review means that they never expect your condition to improve. A 3 year review means improvement is possible but unknown. A one year review means they expect your condition to improve.

I’m a little bit confused. If he is working full time even with a disability why would he qualify for benefits and a discharge?

I can only speak for me here in Ohio (not sure if it is different in different states) I was told by the SS attorney that handled my own case that I couldn’t apply until it was determined that my disabilities kept me from working at all. That eventually happened with me.

Often you have to be unemployed for awhile I am not sure how long exactly (it might be up to 12 months) -but once you apply you normally get rejected the first time and I was told by the same attorney that that is standard procedure because there is such a huge backlog it weeds out who is serious about the application process and who isn’t.

I am just reporting what I was told. Sounds bad I know. Once I got the first rejection letter I handed the case to the SS Attorney who came highly recommended for his success and he won my case within 4 months. The attorneys do not get paid unless they win and then only around 25% of any back or retro pay that is owed to you and that is all. All the rest of the back pay if any and all future payments are yours from there on.

Just needing special assistance to work is not enough to qualify because it is solely based on the person’s ability to work at all and not what is needed to make him or her able to do the job.

If working is too stressful or too taxing to your husband’s overall health or makes him more ill or more disabled in the long run he might be better off to not work for a time to focus totally on his health and well being. After disability income is secured you can then return to work on a part time basis and still keep your benefits and SS has info on how to do that.

I had 17K of student loans in default and after I was on SS security disability I applied for a discharge and I got it but then they put you on a 3 year probation and if you go back to work within that 3 years you can be held accountable then to repay your debt. So basically to get the discharge completed you can’t return to work in any capacity for 3 years. They send you a letter. It has been 10 years for me and my debt has been long since discharged and I needed the time away from working to get my health in a more manageable place. I am feeling better now and have considered the idea of returning to work on a part time basis. There is just a little fear within me of somehow losing all of the wellness I feel I have achieved over the years, it has been very hard work and I don’t want to ever backslide.

Plus I still care for my adult sz son as well who is doing better himself but I feel it is mostly because I am always here with him. Time will tell -I haven’t decided what I will do yet. Good luck to you and your husband.

My best advice is to talk to an experienced Social Security disability attorney in your area as they will discuss your case for free with you and give you sound advice and answer your questions.

PS> I believe that the discharge is for gov’t loans but then that was the only loans I had so I honestly don’t know about private loans.

https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/disability-disc
To qualify for disability student loan forgiveness you have to at least either be on va disability ssa disability or get a form filled out by a physician that basically says your disability has stopped you from being able to work at all or make substantial earning for work. This is suppose to last for at least 60 months or more. I doubt a physician will be able to say that he can’t make substantial earning if he is working full time. I agree with Catherine. It doesn’t have anything to do with having a disability and needing special accommodations for work. It has to do with your disability causing you not to be able to work at all or cause you not to be able to make substantial earning. If you have questions about what substantial earning really means. I would contact this Nelnet on the link I have provided.

sorry that link didn’t work you can try this one

I don’t think they take your income into consideration when you are seeking to discharge the loan due to total and permanent disability. However as he is still working, you probably will need to apply for a deferment. That however does nothing for deferred interest.

Last year I thought I had applied for discharge as my son can no longer work. The trial periods of work have been disastrous. Just recently I got a notice that the deferment period is ending. So apparently I filed the wrong paperwork?!??! The process is exasperating.

I hope it goes better for you.

The rules have changed and will probably keep changing. My son was under 3 year review for ssdi when his student loan discharge was processed. His deferred interest was forgiven - the total amount was forgiven.

He was allowed to work during the 3 year monitoring period, but he only works a few hours each month. What he wasn’t allowed to do during the monitoring period was take out any additional student loans.

that is true that the rules are constantly changing and my situation was from many years ago…

I’ve spoken with a SSA advisor and legal counsel about it, and they were very upfront that he can’t receive SS benefits unless he’s almost completely unemployed because of his illness, but she recommended he at least try to apply for loan discharge because of the amount of debt he has. His loans are 100k, and while he does have a “full time” job, he requires a lot of accommodations for his illness to be able to perform his job, and between his insurance, medicine, and doctor fees, he earns maybe $400/month, and it’s likely that keeping & maintaining his job is most he that he will ever be able to do.
It’s true that the laws keep changing. Iwas advised to keep applying even if our applications keep getting rejected.

What year did this happen hope? If you remember.

I would certainly follow the advice you got and keep reapplying. I would think that it’s going to be hard to get discharged if he doesnt qualify for disability. But who knows if they keep changing the rules.

He just completed the 3 year monitoring period in 2018, his application was accepted in 2015.

Did you see the other thread regarding tax implications?

No but I tried to get mine forgiven in 2015 and they wouldn’t because I was on a three year ssdi review and not a 5-7 year review. I didn’t owe that much and paid it off myself. Did your son owe a lot?

It was around $37,000 due to deferred interest. He had attempted to go to grad school just one year. We paid for his undergraduate years.

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My son was quite ill when he finally became disabled by his illness. The 3 year review schedule puzzled me at the time.

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