The federal Department of Education said on Tuesday it would offer to write off $7.7 billion of student debt owed by disabled individuals, taking a big step to streamline a loan forgiveness program long plagued by bureaucratic delay and inefficiency.
Starting April 18, loan forgiveness letters will go out to approximately 387,000 borrowers who have been identified as totally and permanently disabled by the Social Security Administration, allowing them to sign and file a simplified application form to have their debt forgiven.
The move was enabled by changes in the department’s regulations governing the loan forgiveness program, which resulted from a 2011 ProPublica investigation published in partnership with Columbia’s Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism and the Center for Public Integrity.
Under federal law, borrowers who develop severe and lasting disabilities after taking out federal student loans are entitled to have their debts forgiven. As we noted in our investigation, the purpose of the rule was to spare former students who become disabled from a lifetime of ruined credit, garnished Social Security benefits, and spiraling debt.
Read more about it here: Federal Government Finally Forgives Billions in Debt of Students Who’ve Become Disabled – ProPublica