My Bipolar Disorder and Depression Has Hurt My Ability to Repay My Student Loans


Dear Steve,

Diagnosed in 1986 W/bipolar disorder, started Alcoholics Anonymous 1986(yes still sober & clean, 3/3/20,34yrs)
I went to DeAnza College from 1990-1994, including summer, all vacation sessions allowed due to the fact of depression. I had to catch up.

1995 injured at work, 2 broke disks, had 2 wait 6yrs 4 surgery due to 2 fraudulent errors on Social Security lack of interviewing me. Still, 2day will not allow me 2 c my files & took my comp & benefits from my daughter.

I paid the college 6 or 8 payments of $ 75.dollars. Then disability stopped. Living on $535., 565, 583, each month, in 2000, 2001, 2002, these amounts continued until now. I receive $750. I had to raise my child & myself on this while disabled, homeless several times.

I had my psyc from NY fill forms several times on my mental problems. Also when I moved back to Ca I had my Dr fill the forms for my physical disabilities. I also have ADHD & Chronic pain issues severe.

I have tried to explain to the dept of ed.w/out results, now instead of receiving$811.for benefits, I’m still getting750. I want to file bankruptcy, I’m 63 & cannot deal w/ this, I’m honest, & cannot do much do to my poverty level.

What am I to do? I’m still working on my SSDI case. It took 19yrs to get my child support. Does anyone do any honesty & helping others anymore? I always pay it forward.

I even give peanut butter sandwiches out to the street homeless a month.

I hope someone can help me. Thank you



Dear Christine,

You sound like a wonderful person with a kind heart. You have certainly struggled through the years and congratulations on staying sober.

Addiction and mental health issues can certainly cause a knock-on effect on finances. There is a direct correlation.

Since you are getting your Social Security benefits garnished I am assuming these are federal student loans.

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While filing bankruptcy is an option, dealing with student loans is not a simple procedure. It also depends on your local court and even the judge.

The least expensive process would be to go for a Total and Permanent Discharge (TPD).

TPD is a process and the biggest struggle will be to keep track of when documents are due and when the government misses deadlines so you can nag them.

You can learn more about the TPD process here.

Given what you told me, it seems possible to get a statement, again, from a physician that your mental health issues have left you permanently disabled.

If you have a trusted friend or family member who might want to assist you, there is even a form to designate a representative to assist you.

If you have not followed this process in an attempt to get a total discharge, tax-free, then I would highly recommend that first.

Please keep me posted in the comments section below.

And by the way, you will see that yes, people do still do things honestly and help others still.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

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Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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