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Student Loan Forgiveness on Disability, Do You Qualify?

Student Loan Forgiveness on Disability

If you get disabled, getting relief from your student loan payments can provide some much-needed financial assistance to cater to your medical and living expenses. It is possible to get student loan forgiveness on disability or what is popularly known as TPD discharge (Total & Permanent Disability discharge).

Discover precisely what you should know about qualifying for student loan forgiveness on disability below.

How to Get Student Loans Forgiven Due to Disability.

TPD Discharge Application

Before you qualify for loan forgiveness because of disability, you need to submit a discharge application. Other documentation is required to show you meet the United States Department of Education’s requirements for being considered permanently and totally disabled.

Nelnet is responsible for helping the Department of Education on TPD discharge matters. There are three main ways to show you qualify for student loan forgiveness on disability. You can do so by;

1. Providing documentation from the VA (Department of Veterans Affairs)

Veterans who want student loan forgiveness can qualify by providing documentation from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The documentation acts as proof that a person has a disability determination since they are disabled due to their unemployability or because of a service-related disability.

Once you are determined to be permanently or totally disabled as per the VA, Nelnet will notify you of your qualification for student loan forgiveness. Nelnet will then ask your student loan holders to issue refunds for loan repayments made on/after the date you were officially found to be disabled as per the VA.

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2. Providing documentation from the SSA (Social Security Administration)

You can also become eligible for student loan forgiveness on disability if you are eligible for SSI or SSDI and have a Social Security Administration notice of award copy or a Benefits Planning Query indicting the next disability review is in 5-7 years or more from when the latest SSA disability determination was made.

The Department of Education works alongside the SSA and VA to find individuals who qualify for TPD based on the standing with the SSA or VA. If the Department of Education finds information from a relevant agency showing you qualify for forgiveness, a letter is sent notifying you of eligibility for student loan forgiveness.

Determinations made proving permanent or total disability as per the SSA precede a notification from Nelnet stating that your student loan obligation is discharged. Nelnet will also instruct the relevant loan holders to refund any loan payments made after the effective date that Nelnet receives SSA documentation.

Nelnet’s notification will also include other relevant information such as the terms that make you ineligible for student loan forgiveness i.e., if you fail to meet specific requirements while you are in the 3-year post-discharge monitoring period.

3. Providing documentation from a physician

You can also gain eligibility for student loan forgiveness if you are certified on your TPD discharge application to be incapable of participating in substantial gainful activities (such as working for a salary or profit). This determination can be made because your mental or physical disability is expected to cause death, last for 5 years or more or has already lasted continuously for 5 years or more.

To qualify based on documentation from a physician, that physician must be a licensed doctor (of osteopathic medicine/osteopathy) capable of practicing in the U.S.

Once disability is determined based on a physician’s certification, Nelnet will notify you of your student loan forgiveness and instruct loan holders to refund any payments made after the physician officially certified you as disabled.

As is the case with SSA, individuals found to be disabled through a physician are subjected to a 3-year post-discharge monitoring period that commences when a TPD discharge is approved.

Requirements for post-discharge monitoring

Student loan forgiveness on disability isn’t issued permanently initially. Your student loan obligation can be reinstated during the 3-year post-discharge period if you get a job that pays you more than the poverty guideline sum set in your jurisdiction. The same applies if you take a new student loan via the Federal Direct Student Loan program or when an SSA notice is issued stating you aren’t disabled.


To qualify for student loan forgiveness on disability, get the right documentation from the VA, SSA, or a licensed physician and use the documentation to submit a TPD discharge application. It’s also important to understand what can make your loan to be reinstated.

For more info. on student loan forgiveness for individuals with disability, visit the official TPD discharge site. See if you qualify for student loan forgiveness NOW by talking to an expert.