Department of Education Total and Permanent Disability Discharge
Financial worries is a major contributing factor to stress, heartache, and despair when dealing with serious health events and profound disabilities. Some relief is available. If you or your loved one is totally and permanently disabled and has federal student or parent loan, or TEACH Grant obligations, you may be eligible to receive a discharge through the Department of Education’s TPD Program (Total and Permanent Discharge).
A TPD discharge relieves you from having to repay a William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program loan, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loan, and/or Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) Program loan or complete a TEACH Grant service obligation on the basis of your total and permanent disability.
Either the Department of Education will contact you directly concerning your eligibility for a discharge as a result of their agreements and information sharing with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), or you can apply directly to the Department of Education along with your medical professional’s assessment of your disability. Once they are aware of the application for eligibility determination, they will evaluate the information and determine if you qualify for a TPD discharge.
Do not fret if you have not been contacted by TPD for a discharge, not all eligible cases get flagged for them. You may apply directly to the Department of Education, or you may have a representative complete and submit your application on your behalf, and assist you throughout the process. To have a representative apply on your behalf, you and your representative must complete an Applicant Representation Designation Form. The Department must receive that form before it will work with your representative. The form can be found at https://www.disabilitydischarge.com/Application-Process.
To apply, you can show the Department you are disabled in three ways:
- Veterans with a service-connected disability (or disabilities) that is 100% disabling, or are totally disabled based on an individual unemployability rating, may be contacted by TPD directly. However, if you are a veteran and you believe you meet the eligibility requirements for TPD discharge based on a disability determination from the VA, but the Department did not contact you about a TPD discharge, you do not need to wait to be contacted by TPD. You can submit a TPD discharge application along with documentation from the VA showing that you have a service connected disability (or disabilities) that is 100% disabling or that you are totally disabled based on an individual unemployability rating. The documentation you provide must include the effective date of the VA’s determination.
- Those receiving benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may be contacted for discharge eligibility by TBD. If, however, you have not been contacted by TPD and you are receiving SSDI or SSI benefits and your next scheduled disability review will be within 5 to 7 years from the date of your most recent SSA disability determination, you can apply and provide documentation of your SSA notice of award for SSDI or SSI benefits or a Benefits Planning Query (BPQY form 2459) stating that your next scheduled disability review will be within 5 to 7 years from the date of your most recent SSA disability determination.
- You can submit a certification from a doctor of medicine (M.D.) or osteopathy (D.O.), who is licensed to practice in the United States, which states that you are totally and permanently disabled. Your physician must certify that you are unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that:
a. Can be expected to result in death;
b. Has lasted for a continuous period of not less than 60 months; or
c. Can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 60 months.
All applications can be submitted online at https://www.disabilitydischarge.com/Application-Process.
If you are dealing with the disability of a loved one, or are disabled yourself, don’t let student loan obligations weigh on your mind. You can seek relief through the TPD program.