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Student Loan Forgiveness for Veterans With Permanent and Total Disability

Student Loan Forgiveness for Veterans With Permanent and Total Disability

TPD Discharge for Disabled Veterans with Student Loans

The journey of a veteran doesn’t end when they return home. Educational opportunities can pave the way for brighter futures. When service-related injuries or disabilities make it difficult to repay student loans, however, the TPD discharge program is a lifeline for veterans who need their student loans forgiven.   

If you’re a veteran or a loved one of a veteran who needs financial relief from federal student loans, contact a total and permanent disability veteran attorney to get help reaching 100% P&T. 

Can 100 Percent Disabled Veterans Get Student Loan Forgiveness?

Understanding the Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge 

If you are totally and permanently disabled, you may qualify for a total and permanent disability (TPD) discharge of your federal student loans or TEACH Grant service obligation. 

If you receive a TPD discharge, you will no longer need to repay your loans or complete your TEACH Grant service obligation.

A TPD discharge relieves veterans from having to repay or comply with obligations associated with federal student aid. 

Eligibility Criteria

To benefit from TPD Discharge, veterans must have a 100 percent P&T (Permanent and Total) VA Rating or TDIU status. The TPD student loan discharge does not apply to private student loans.

Application Process

  • Veterans interested in TPD Discharge should register and complete the application process at DisabilityDischarge.com.
  • This is a one-time use opportunity. Veterans need to complete their education before applying.

Documentation Requirements

To qualify for TPD Discharge, veterans must submit documentation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA): Providing a determination that a service-connected disability makes the veteran unemployable.

Designating a Representative

If you wish to designate someone to represent you in matters related to your application, you must complete the Applicant Representative Designation Total and Permanent Disability form.

Where to Send Your Completed Application and Documentation

At Berry Law, we believe that knowledge is power, and we are dedicated to empowering veterans with the information they need to navigate complex legal matters.

If you or someone you know needs help with their student loan forgiveness, contact an accredited VA disability benefits lawyer for guidance and support.

What Qualifies as a Total and Permanent Disability for Veterans?

Veterans with physical or emotional injuries, illnesses, or whose pre-existing conditions a service-connected event aggravated may pursue a disability claim through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). 

When veterans file a claim, the VA evaluates their condition and assigns a disability rating based on how profoundly it affects their ability to work and their overall quality of life.

These disability ratings come in three categories: total, permanent, or permanent and total. 

  • Total Disability: A veteran may receive a total disability rating if their service-connected injury or illness significantly impairs their ability to work and affects their quality of life. This rating reflects the disability’s effects on their daily functioning.
  • Permanent Disability: A permanent disability rating indicates that doctors do not expect the veteran’s condition to change over time. It acknowledges that the injury or illness has caused lasting impairments.
  • Permanent and Total Disability: This designation combines both permanent and total classifications, signifying a severe and lasting impairment that significantly affects the veteran’s ability to earn a living and enjoy life.
  • Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU): TDIU is when a disability prevents you from working. The VA grants TDIU when a veteran’s service-connected disabilities, even if individually rated at less than 100 percent, render them unable to secure or maintain substantially gainful employment.

To qualify for TDIU, you had to have one disability rated at 60 percent or two disabilities at 70 percent, with one being 40 percent – and that one disability has to prevent a veteran from working.

If you’re a veteran with disabilities and have federal student loans, contact an experienced veteran disability lawyer to help you apply for permanent and total disability. Your service to this country matters. We are here to fight for your rights.

Which Student Loans Can Be Discharged?

  • William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program
  • Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program
  • Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) Program
  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program

Once you submit your completed application and documentation, you will receive a notice acknowledging receipt, explaining the review process, and informing you that you do not need to make loan payments during the review.

If you fail to apply within 120 days of notifying the relevant authorities of your intent, collection activities will resume on your loans, and unpaid interest may increase your loan principal amount. However, some exceptions apply, depending on the loan program.

What Happens After I Apply to Discharge My Student Loans?

The holders of your federal student loans and/or TEACH Grant service obligation will suspend collection activities while evaluating your discharge application. 

This means you won’t have to make payments during the assessment.

If your loans are in default and undergoing wage garnishment and/or Treasury Offset, these payments will stop upon approval of the TPD discharge.

A thorough review of your TPD discharge application and supporting documentation will ensure completeness and eligibility.

Once you send all necessary documentation, your eligibility for a TPD discharge request will be forwarded for a final decision.

What Happens if My Loan Discharge Application Is Denied? 

If you do not meet the criteria for total and permanent disability, you will receive a notification specifying:

  • The reasons for the denial of your discharge application.
  • An explanation that your loans will return to their original status before your total and permanent disability discharge application.
  • Information regarding when you must resume loan payments, which your loan holder will communicate to you.
  • If you applied for a TEACH Grant service obligation discharge, you must adhere to all terms and conditions of your TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve.

You are not obligated to submit a new total and permanent disability discharge application if, within 12 months of the notification stating your ineligibility for discharge, you provide additional information regarding your disabling condition supporting your eligibility for discharge. 

You must also request a re-evaluation of your discharge application. However, if you do not request re-evaluation within the 12-month timeframe and you still wish to have your eligibility re-evaluated, you must submit a new total and permanent disability discharge application.

If you request a re-evaluation or submit a new application, you must include new information about your disabling condition that you did not previously provide.

If you received a student loan discharge denial, don’t lose hope. The experienced legal team at Berry Law Firm can help you increase the Veterans Affairs disability rating to help you qualify for student loan forgiveness. 

Will I Qualify for New Loans or TEACH Grants if My Student Loans Are Discharged?

If you are granted a TPD discharge of your federal student loans or TEACH Grant service obligation, you may not receive new Direct Loans, Perkins Loans, or TEACH Grants in the future unless:

  1. You obtain a certification from a licensed medical professional that you can engage in substantial gainful activity.
  2. You sign a statement acknowledging that the new loan or TEACH Grant service obligation cannot be discharged in the future based on any injury or illness present at the time of issuance unless your condition significantly deteriorates, rendering you totally and permanently disabled.

If your discharge was granted based on documentation from SSA or a licensed medical professional’s certification and you request a new Direct Loan, Perkins Loan, or TEACH Grant within the three-year post-discharge monitoring period, you must resume repayment on the previously discharged loans or acknowledge that you are once again subject to the terms of your TEACH Grant service obligation before receiving the new loan or TEACH Grant.

Is the Student Loan Discharge Permanent? 

Upon discharge approval, a three-year post-discharge monitoring period begins from the discharge date.

Your obligation to repay loans or complete TEACH Grant service may be reinstated if, during or at the end of the post-discharge monitoring period, any of the following conditions occur:

  • You earn annual employment income exceeding the poverty guideline amount for a family of two in your state, irrespective of your family size.
  • You obtain a new loan under the Direct Loan Program or a new TEACH Grant.
  • You receive a disbursement of a Direct Loan Program or TEACH Grant that was initially disbursed before your discharge date, and you fail to ensure the disbursement is returned to the loan holder or the Department (for TEACH Grants) within 120 days of the disbursement date.
  • You receive a notice from the SSA indicating that you are no longer disabled or that your continuing disability review period will no longer be the five- to seven-year period as stated in the SSA notice of award or BPQY.

Throughout this three-year monitoring period, you or your representative must:

  • Promptly inform the Department of any changes in your address or telephone number.
  • Promptly notify the Department if your annual earnings from employment exceed the poverty guideline amount for a family of two in your state, regardless of your family size.
  • Use the provided form to provide documentation of your annual earnings from employment upon request.
  • Promptly notify the Department if you receive a notice from the SSA indicating that you are no longer disabled or that your continuing disability review period will no longer be the five- to seven-year period stated in the SSA notice of award or BPQY. 
  • This applies if you were previously determined to be disabled by the SSA, were receiving SSDI or SSI benefits, and had a continuing disability review period of five to seven years or more from your last SSA disability determination.

What Happens if My TPD Student Loan Discharge is Denied?

If you do not meet the requirements outlined previously at any time during or at the end of the post-discharge monitoring period, your obligation to repay your discharged loans or complete your discharged TEACH Grant service will be reinstated.

If your loans are reinstated, you must repay them to the Department following the terms of your promissory notes.

Your loans will revert to the status that would have been in place if you had not submitted your total and permanent disability discharge application. 

You won’t need to pay interest on your loans for the period between the date of discharge and the date your repayment obligation was reinstated. 

If your TEACH Grant service obligation is reinstated, you must meet the requirements of your TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve.

If you fail to meet the terms of the agreement and your TEACH Grant funds convert to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan, you must fully repay that loan, and interest will accrue from the date(s) when the TEACH Grant funds were disbursed.

If your obligation to repay loans or your TEACH Grant service is reinstated, you will receive a notification specifying:

  • The reasons for the reinstatement.
  • For loans, an explanation that the first payment due date on the loan following the reinstatement will start no earlier than 60 days from the reinstatement notification.

Contact a VA Disability Attorney

Veterans who have served our nation may take pathways to student loan relief. The Berry Law Firm concentrates on assisting veterans with the complex VA disability claims process.

Our experienced team of veteran disability law attorneys understands VA law, and we understand the struggle and frustration veterans go through when applying for disability benefits.

Contact us today to explore your options and find out how we can help you discharge your student loans.

ptsd attorney john berry
VA Disability Attorney, John Berry
Berry Law

The attorneys at Berry Law are dedicated to helping injured Veterans. With extensive experience working with VA disability claims, Berry Law can help you with your disability appeals.

This material is for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and the reader, and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this blog are not a substitute for legal counsel.

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