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Program for those on permanent disability to clear student debt

For Floridians who are suffering from an injury, illness or condition that renders them unable to work, disability benefits may be available. There are important facts that must be known regarding Social Security disability, which go beyond simply meeting the medical requirements and following through with all of the rules that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has implemented. In addition, SSD benefits can be subject to changes, which can help those who are already receiving benefits and have other debts that might be affecting what they receive.

A plan being put forth by President Obama will eliminate student debt for those who are suffering from severe disabilities. The amount of money that will be cleared is reportedly $7.7 billion. This maneuver is in response to a vast number of people who have had their SSD benefits garnished because of money they owe in student loans. The U.S. Education Department has stated that Americans who have a medical issue in which no improvement is expected will receive this accommodation. There is a law that says those who are considered to be "totally and permanently disabled" by the SSA can have their obligations to repay loans eliminated.

There are 387,000 people who fall into this category. Approximately half of them have defaulted on their student loan obligations. To have defaulted, the person must have not paid their student loan payments for a minimum of one year. An estimated 100,000 of these people are in danger of either having their SSD benefits checks garnished or not receiving their tax refunds. Those who are not receiving full disability cannot benefit from this program, but there is the possibility of asking for a postponement to repay their loans. To be considered permanently and totally disabled, the person must be certified to have an impairment that will eventually result in death, has continued for a minimum of 60 months or will be expected to last for that amount of time.

People who are receiving SSD benefits and are unable to work have enough to worry about without having to face garnishments or lost tax refunds due to student loans. With this program, it is possible to have the loans forgiven. Understanding how the law works when it comes to SSD benefits, from trying to be approved to receive them to having debts eliminated, can be achieved by consulting with an attorney who knows the ins-and-outs of disability benefits.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "Obama Administration to Forgive Billions in Student Debt for Disabled Americans," Josh Mitchell, April 12, 2016

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