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The ultimate guide on Student Loan Discharge for Disability

Student Loan Discharge for Disability

It is a significant commitment to take on student loans. You know that you will have to work hard to pay the loans off after signing up. But what if something critical occurs and you can not be in the clear? Let’s suppose that you have a terminal illness or you are involved in a traffic accident which makes you physically unable to work? If you are permanently left disabled, you may qualify student loan discharge for disability via U.S Department of Education. But, as you imagine, it is going to be a complex and lengthy procedure. We will share the ultimate guide on student loan discharge for disability below.

What is permanent and total disability discharge?


U.S Department of Education has created the program, Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge. It brings the disabled borrowers through having to repay federal student loans or TEACH Grant service payables.

Loans that are eligible for student loan discharge for disability

Total and Permanent Disability Discharge program is only applicable to federal student loans. The program relieves loan from the following:

  • William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan)
  • Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL)
  • Federal Perkins Loan Program Loans

Besides the three federal loans, TPD discharge releases you from having to achieve a TEACH Grant service debt. If you are planning to apply for TPD discharge and one of these loans belongs to you, first, you have to prove that you are entirely or permanently disabled.

How can I prove you are entirely or permanently disabled?

Here are three ways that you can demonstrate you are eligible for the TPD discharge requirements in compliance with Federal Student Aid:

If you are a veteran, you are suitable for applying for student loan discharge for disability and give documentation from VA demonstrating that you have a service-disabled and you are not able to work.

If you get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you can apply for student loan discharge for disability. You will submit paperwork proving the SSA notice of award for SSDI and SSI benefits.

If you have a certification from a doctor (a D.O or M.D) stating that you are entirely or permanently disabled, you can submit it to relieve from student loans. The physician has to confirm that you are not able to work because of mental or physical impairment which may be expected to cause death, has lasted for a continuous period for more than 60 months, or may probably last for a sustained period of not less than 60 months.

Each option owns its own set of requirements when you apply.

How can I apply for student loan discharge for disability program?


The agreement between the Department of Health and the Social Security Administration lets them specify who is eligible for a Total and Permanent Disability Discharge program. If they consider you qualified, they will inform you about the next steps. If they contact you after receiving information from SSI and VA, you do not need to give supporting documents.

If you think you are qualified and they have not contacted you yet, you should fill out the application form, attach supportive documents, and mail it to the Department.

If you are unable to complete the application form by yourself, your representative can do and submit it instead of you. To get right to complete the application form, your representative has to fill out the Applicant Representative Designation form. He/She has to submit and process it before the Department can work with him/her.

Get a student loan discharge for disability

Right below you can see some ways to get the TPD discharge application:

Online application. You are not able to entirely complete the form online. Because you will need to send physical documents. But, you can start it online. The Department is going to use the information which you give to send you a partly completed TPD application form in PDF form that you will print and have to fill out the rest by hand.

Download and print the TPD application form. This option lets you download the blank application, print and fill it all out by hand, instead of filling out the first part of the application online.

Claim an application by email or phone. You can get in contact with the Department both email ( and phone (888-303-7818) and claim a form to be sent to you.

Filling out an application form

Regardless of the option that you choose to get the application, you must fill out some or all of it by hand.

If you prefer to start the application online, you will fill out the first and second sections. The Department will email you a PDF form of the application to download, print and complete the third section manually.

After filling out the TPD application, you will need to attach supportive documents and have a physician to fill out the fourth section. The supportive documents for every disability vary from each other a bit.


Veteran Affairs Determination. Veterans have to provide documentation from the Veteran Affairs that demonstrates the VA has determined one of these following:

  • You have fallen entirely disabled during your service.
  • You have fallen in a disability situation as a result of your employment.

Social Security Administration. Your paperwork has to be an SSA notice of award for SSDI or SSI benefits, in case if you are applying as an SSDI or SSI benefits recipient.  Your paperwork has also to indicate next designated disability review will be within five to seven years of your most recent disability determination.

Physician Certification. Upon completion of three stages, you will be asked for certification by a physician. Within this certificate, your physician has to confirm that you are either permanently or disabled.

Post application procedure. Once the department gets your application, they have 120 days to contact your lenders to check your if you are eligible for the forgiveness or not. During this period they will pause your payments, and you will not have to make any payments towards your student loan. Then they will review your documents to reach a final decision.

Successful application. If they approve your request for discharge, they will notify you on this decision. After that, they will contact your lender to refund the money if you have made any after the date of being disabled.


  • Your yearly employment income climb over the poverty guideline amount family of two in your state.
  • You get a new Federal Perkins Program Loan, Federal Direct Loan or TEACH Grant
  • SSA states that you are no longer considered permanently and disabled or that your next disability review no longer matches the five to seven year review period

You own some other responsibilities within this three year monitoring period. You must contact the Department if:

  • You change the address or phone number
  • The Department claims your yearly income documentation from employment
  • Your annual earnings are higher than poverty guideline amount regardless of your family size.

Starting from the date the Department approves your student loan discharge for disability, the Department is going to rehabilitate the payables to pay back the loans again if one of these above mentions is true.