One issue that’s increasingly popping up in Social Security Disability cases is the impact a favorable decision will have on student loans.
Given the patchwork nature of the student loan industry in the United States and the large loan balances some claimants have, it’s not an easy question to answer.
Even in the best case scenario, discharging student loans for those receiving Social Security disability benefits has not been easy. They need to be expected to be disabled for five to seven years. After that, there’s a three year monitoring program.
If a claimant makes too much money or fails to return the proper paperwork during that period, their loans can be reinstated.
Basically, the federal government really, really doesn’t want to discharge student loans.
There is some hope now, however, as the Department of Education has started to move forward with new rules that, if enacted, could make it easier for those receiving disability benefits to discharge their student loans.
According to Forbes, the proposed changes would eliminate the three year monitoring program. Also, anyone who has received disability benefits for five years, or with an onset date at least five years in the past, would be eligible for loan discharge.
Crucially, the new rules would also allow other medical professionals, including nurse practitioners and psychologists, to certify disability. Under the current rules, only a medical doctor can certify disability so that an individual can proceed with loan discharge.
And while there’s still a long way to go before these rules go into effect (and significant changes are always possible), any sort of reform would provide significant relief for millions of disabled Americans.