I was surprised to learn recently the Department of Education is aware of the more than 40,000 disabled military veterans who are legally and severely disabled but there is no process to automatically forgive their student loans even though they are eligible.
And let’s not forget, disabled veterans with private student loans are not eligible to have those loans forgiven even if they are disabled.
It blows my mind that nearly 25,000 of these veterans are in default and legally eligible to have their federal student loans forgiven tax-free but have to jump through hoops. How is that taking care of our veterans?
And let’s not forget that many of these loans were for for-profit schools with concerning reputations who specifically targeted veterans for enrolling in a course of study they would never complete, leaving them with federal student loans.
This issue isn’t about a particular political party in power. It’s about a broken governmental process. Some may say veterans only have a few things to get their federal student loans forgiven. Can you imagine having to deal with a prolonged government process between multiple agencies with PTSD or while otherwise severely disabled?
It should not be unreasonable for this process to work for the disabled veteran instead of the disabled veteran having to work for the process.
It is a classic issue of government forgetting it should work for its customers instead of forcing people to make the job of government easier. Who works for who? In this case, the disabled military veterans worked for the government to begin with and when they are down, the government should work for the veterans who served the country.
I wondered how other people felt about automatically forgiving federal student loans for disabled veterans, so I asked.
While 15% of people said the loans should not be automatically forgiven, the majority felt they should be.
Survey respondents were fairly well represented among age and income ranges.
But more encouraging was the fact that in our deeply politically divided existence that we face today, the balance of people identifying with a particular political party was fairly represented in this survey.
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What to Do if You Are a Disabled Veteran and Want to Have Your Federal Student Loans Forgiven
The easiest thing you can do to begin the process of having your federal student loans forgiven is to watch your mail for a letter that looks like this.
But “advocates say many of these veterans may be unable to respond because they’re paralyzed or have severe brain injuries. Others may have never even opened the letter or believed it was a scam, since borrowers are frequently warned to stay away from claims of loan forgiveness,” according to CNBC.
That is the letter the Department of Education sends out to start the annoying and time-consuming paperwork process.
If you have not received the letter, you can go to the Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge website to start the discharge process.
This problem actually comes down to a basic customer service issue. The majority of people who responded feel the loans should be automatically forgiven, yet we require disabled veterans to be forced to engage in a process that could be swiftly done for them to help lessen their burden. They’ve already been determined to be disabled by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Education knows what federal student loans they have.
Free Help is Available for Disabled Military Veterans
Any veteran who would like to receive free help to navigate the ridiculous current process for loan forgiveness can contact the nonprofit group Veterans Education Success for help. Email them at [email protected] for free assistance.