Washington, DC— With the current moratorium on student loan payments set to expire at the end of this month, the Department of Education and the White House have announced a new plan to tackle student loan debt for millions of borrowers across the country. These new changes will help millions of people with disabilities, if they can access the new programs.
The new changes include $10,000 of debt cancellation for most borrowers ($20,000 if the borrower has Pell Grant loans) and a new income-driven repayment plan for undergraduate borrowers. These new programs may be able to help millions of borrowers with disabilities if the implementation is seamless and accessible to those that are qualified.
Historically, the Total and Permanent Discharge (TPD) program has provided an avenue to discharge federal student loan debt for people with permanent disabilities that limit their ability to work. However, the TPD required borrowers to apply for debt forgiveness and was filled with red tape and complicated, paperwork-heavy processes. Even after the TDP process was improved and automated, eligibility standards continue to be high. Millions who do not meet these standards—including other marginalized groups like those living in poverty and those with language barriers—will need to rely on the Administration’s new relief plan.
“The process for student loan debt relief has long been cumbersome and ineffective for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, who already must navigate complicated state and federal benefit programs,” said Bethany Lilly, Senior Director of Public Policy for The Arc. “We are relieved that the Administration is taking steps to provide debt relief and make long-needed reforms to existing repayment programs. During this time of unprecedented financial strain, it will be crucially important to ensure that people with disabilities can access these new options.”
The Arc looks forward to working with the Administration to ensure that the new options are as automatic as possible for borrowers and accessible for people with disabilities.