Total and Permanent Disability Discharge

To qualify for Total and Permanent Disability Discharge, the borrower needs certification from a doctor that s/he is unable to earn money or work due to illness or disability. Furthermore, the borrower would be subject to annual recertification of his/her condition as TPD for a period of 5 years or not less than 60 months.

Borrowers who have Direct Loans, FFEL, and Perkins Loans may qualify for the TPD Discharge program. Borrowers with Parent PLUS loans may also apply if the parent him/herself has disabilities and qualified as such according to the guidelines stipulated by the Department of Education.

There are three ways to meet the Department of Education’s disability discharge standard:

1. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA): borrowers can qualify for TPD Discharge if they’ve received certification from VA that (1) they have a service-connected disability that’s permanently disabling, or (2) they are totally disabled based on their unemployability rating.

2. Social Security Administration Documentation (SSA): borrowers receiving disability benefits (income or insurance) from SSA, can submit a notice of award that indicates their next scheduled disability review within 5 to 7 years of their most recent SSA disability determination.

3. Certification from a Doctor: borrowers can also obtain certification from their doctor using the DOE’s TPD Certification Form, signed by the borrower’s doctor. This form needs to be submitted within 90 days that the doctor has signed the form. The Department of Education and the assigned servicer would get in touch with the doctor/s who signed the form.

In April 2016, the Department of Education introduced a process of matching and identifying borrowers who are disabled and may qualify for the disability discharge. The Department began the process with the Social Security Database and in April 2018, also introduced the process with Veteran’s Affairs.