Stamford Advocate

Student debt for those with severe disabiliti­es to be erased


The Biden administra­tion announced Thursday it will automatica­lly erase student loan debt for more than 300,000 Americans with severe disabiliti­es that leave them unable to earn significan­t incomes.

The move will wipe out more than $5.8 billion in debt, according to the Education Department,

and it marks the start of a broader overhaul of a program that has been criticized for having overly burdensome rules. The federal government offers student debt relief for people who are “totally and permanentl­y disabled” and have limited incomes. But the current rules require them to submit documentat­ion of their disability and undergo a threeyear monitoring period.

Tens of thousands of people have been dropped from the program and had their loans reinstated simply because they failed to submit proof of their earnings, however, and critics say the complex rules deter some from applying.

Advocates have pressed the Education Department to eliminate the monitoring period entirely and to provide automatic debt relief to people who the Social Security Administra­tion already identifies as permanentl­y disabled.

Both demands will be met. Starting in September, the Education Department will start erasing student debt for 323,000 Americans identified in Social Security records as being permanentl­y disabled.

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