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While there are many military personnel opportunities, it is hard to find a debt relief program when it comes to veterans. One of the most beneficial ways of getting rid of the debt is through the disability discharge program. Recently, the Trump Administration was very active in this field. They announced that they would automate the process so that disabled veterans will eliminate their debt even without application. Such attempts in student loan forgiveness for veterans create hopes. However, still, not many options are available to veterans. In this guide, we will discuss three programs to reduce or eliminate the debt for veterans. Next, we will provide additional debt relief options to consider if the forgiveness plans are unavailable.
One of the best student loan forgiveness for veterans is the permanent disability discharge program. This program ensures that veterans with total or permanent disabilities can get rid of their student debt fully. Veterans can qualify for this program if they can prove their conditions.
Disability discharge applies to Federal Direct, Family Education, and Perkins loans. It also relieves applicants from the TEACH Grant obligation. Veterans can get a successful discharge if they provide necessary information about their conditions to the Department of Education. Therefore, they need to fill the loan forgiveness application and add supporting documents that prove the disability. Sometimes, the process can require a physician to fill the part of the form relating to the disability information.
The physicians’ report should show that the veterans have a physical or mental disability that restrains them from engaging in gainful activity. Besides, the disability has continued or will continue for more than 60 months. Plus, the condition can even result in death. Later, the veteran or a family member can mail the application, together with all supporting documents. Once received, the Department of Education will review the case, and inform about the results.
Trump Forgives Student Loans for Veterans
student loan forgiveness for veteransIn 2019, the Trump administration announced that it would erase the debt of around 25000 disabled veterans. Disability discharge was not a new student loan forgiveness for veterans. What Trump did was easing the process. While the Total and Permanent Disability Discharge existed, only a small portion of the borrowers applied to this student loan forgiveness for veterans. One of the reasons for low participation was that some veterans had brain injuries, and they could not apply to such programs. Others did not have much information about their opportunities to eliminate student loan debt. As a result, Trump made this process automatic and erased the debt of almost 25000 veterans without their applications. Plus, the forgiveness was not taxable income. However, if veterans who did not benefit from automatic discharge, they can still apply to the program and get their debt eliminated.
What Happens After the Application?
This student loan forgiveness for veterans requires suspension during the review process. IT means, when the Department of Education receives the application, it will contact the loan holders and demand that they stop payment collection. During the review, the veterans do not need to make any payments. However, if the loan is in default, and the holder collects the payment through wage garnishment, it can continue during the review. After checking the application and supporting documents, veterans will get a notification about the final decision.
Perkins Loan Discharge Program
One of the straightforward student loan forgiveness for veterans is the Perkins Loan Discharge program. Unlike Disability Discharge, this program might not bring full elimination of the debt. However, it is easy to be qualified as it requires one year of service in the military in high-risk areas. Some organizations also call this discharge program a National Defense Loan Discharge.
There exist some misconceptions that the Perkins Loan Discharge program is only for teachers. However, this student loan forgiveness program also aids veterans, close relatives of victims in the 9/11 events, and people with disabilities.
The rate of the discharge depends on the period of the service. For one and two years of eligible service, veterans can get a 15% reduction in their principal debt per year. In the next two years, this rate increases to 20%. Lastly, serving for five years brings 30% student loan forgiveness for veterans. Yet the discharge can be complicated. Veterans who served in high-risk areas or a hostile fire can even get a full discharge for serving five years starting on or after the august of 2008.
Application to Perkins Loan Discharge
Unfortunately, the application details are not precise when it comes to this student loan forgiveness. Official sources mention that the application should be made directly to the school, which offered the loan. In other cases, the school’s loan servicer is the one the claims should be directed to. Only these parties can provide the necessary forms and inform veterans about the whole process.