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Does your disability qualify you for student loan relief?

Like many in West Virginia, you pursued your goals by obtaining an education beyond high school. Naturally, you could not do this out of your own pocket, so you applied for financial aid, such as a Federal Direct Student Loan, Family Education Loan, Perkins Loan or a TEACH grant that obligated you to work a certain number of years in a low-income school.

Whatever your plans were for repaying these hefty debts, it all came crashing down when your illness or injury left you disabled. If you have qualified for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration, you may not realize that you may also qualify to have your federal student loan debt forgiven.

Discharging your debt

Seeking a total permanent discharge of your student loan debt may be easier than you think, and it may relieve you of a heavy burden, especially if your student loans have gone to collection. For example, if you are a veteran with a service-related disability, NelNet, the national company that services student loans, will automatically contact your student loan provider and instruct the lender to discharge what you owe. You will receive a letter explaining your eligibility based on information NelNet receives from the Veterans Administration.

Perhaps you are not a veteran but you have received a letter stating that you may qualify for a TPD. The Social Security Administration regularly contacts NelNet with information about those who may be eligible. You will then apply for a total permanent discharge of your federal student loans. However, if you receive disability benefits through the SSA but did not receive a letter of eligibility, you may still apply for a discharge if your next SSA review is not for another five to seven years.

Seek help to qualify

A total permanent discharge of your student loan may provide the kind of relief you need at this difficult time. If you have not received a letter of eligibility, this does not necessarily mean you do not qualify. You would be wise to seek as much information as possible about the TPD program and the steps you can take to seek this financial relief.

As soon as you contact NelNet that you are interested in applying, the agency will instruct your student loan provider to suspend any collection activity, and you will not have to make payments until the Department of Education makes a decision about your case. With so much at stake, you may benefit from obtaining the assistance of an attorney who has extensive knowledge and experience regarding disability benefits.

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Shawn Taylor, PLLC
209 Capitol Street
Charleston, WV 25301

Phone: 304-932-4619
Fax: 304-414-6040
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Office Hours: 7:30 am to 4:00 pm Monday through Friday. Closed on all federal holidays.

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