If your answer is yes, you may qualify to have your federal student loans cancelled!
You can show proof that you qualify for total and permanent disability (TPD) three ways:
If you’re a veteran, you can qualify for a TPD discharge by providing documentation from the VA that shows determination due to a:
You can qualify for a TPD discharge if you receive Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income by:
A doctor of medicine (M.D.) or doctor of osteopathy/osteopathic medicine (D.O.) who is licensed to practice in the United States can certify if you are unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity due to a physical or mental impairment. Substantial gainful activity means you are unable to work due to a physical or mental impairment that:
You’ll need to complete a TPD discharge application and send it, along with any required documentation of your eligibility for discharge, to Nelnet, the TPD discharge servicer. You can start your online application here: https://secure.disabilitydischarge.com/registration.
After Nelnet receives your application, they will explain the process for the review of your application. While your application is being reviewed, you won’t be required to make any payments on your loans. You can contact Nelnet about your application here: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1-888-303-7818 Monday–Friday from 7 a.m.–2 a.m. Eastern time (ET), and Saturday from 8 a.m.–7 p.m. ET. You can also visit the Federal Student Aid website for more information about TPD discharge here: https://disabilitydischarge.com/
Note: If you receive TPD discharge between Jan. 1, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2025, the discharged loan amount won’t be considered income for federal tax purposes. However, you will need to check with your state as loan amounts discharged due to TPD, may still be considered income for state tax purposes. You may want to consult with your state tax office or a tax professional before you file your state tax return.
If you don’t qualify for TPD discharge or you are denied and still need relief of your student loans, you may still be able to get relief from your student loans through federal forgiveness programs and/or income-driven repayment plans.
The two main federal student loan forgiveness programs we can help with are the Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Loan Forgiveness programs.
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program is a student loan forgiveness program for full-time public service employees that have federal direct loans. You must be enrolled in an Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Plan and make 120 qualifying payments. If these requirements are met, your remaining student loan balance will be completely forgiven.
The Teacher Loan Forgiveness (TLF) program is for full-time teachers who have completed five consecutive academic years at a Title 1 school. If you are a highly-qualified mathematics or science teacher at the secondary level, or a special education teacher at any K-12 level, you qualify for $17,500 off of your student loans! If you do not meet these requirements, you can still have $5,000 forgiven if you taught for five complete and consecutive years at a Title 1 school.
If you work or worked for a public service employer, you may qualify for forgiveness! Chipper can help you determine your forgiveness eligibility.
Income-Driven Repayment (DR) Plans cap your monthly payments at 10-20% of your income and if you’re unemployed, your monthly payments may be $0. After 20-25 years of repayment, any remaining balance can be forgiven (forgiveness amount is taxable). If you have federal direct student loans, you’ll qualify for IDR plans. Find out which IDR plan that’s best for you. Chipper can help you discover your options for free!
The #1 reason for PSLF denial is misinformation... ineligible loans, incorrectly filed forms, and not meeting all of the requirements for the PSLF program are the consequences of misinformation. If you think you’re on the right path toward forgiveness, I would challenge you to read through each section of this blog to make sure you really are. When it comes time to apply, make sure you’re approved for the forgiveness you deserve!
Qualifying for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program requires long-term investment and commitment. However, once you complete your 120 qualifying payments, it is pretty straightforward from there to get your student debt forgiven. Make sure to follow the instructions in this blog and if you’re ever confused by which repayment plan is best for you, when to recertify your income, how to fill out the Employment Certification Form, we’re here for you!