Monday, January 17, 2022

US: Biden administration to erase student debt for those with severe disabilities

In the United States, the Biden administration has announced it will automatically erase student loan debt for more than three lakh Americans with severe disabilities that leave them unable to earn significant incomes.

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

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 three-year monitoring period to prove they’re earning little pay.

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.

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

Borrowers will be notified once they have been approved for relief. All of the loans are expected to be discharged by the end of the year.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a call with reporters that this is going to be a smooth process for borrowers and they are not going to have to be applying for it or getting bogged down by paperwork. Advocates celebrated the change as a victory.

Aaron Ament, president of the National Student Legal Defense Network, called it a “life-changing” step.

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