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Total and Permanent Disability Discharge and loans

You may be able to receive a total and permanent disability discharge (TPD) for certain types of school loans such as a William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program loan, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loan, and/or Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) Program loans if you are able to show you have become totally and permanently disabled.


Other loans such as those under the federal student loans or TEACH Grant service obligation may also be discharged but additional steps must be taken to provide information to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to prove you are disabled. To make this determination you will have to submit an application and wait for approval for a TPD discharge.

How do I apply for a total and permanent disability discharge?

If you think you qualify for a total and permanent disability (TPD) discharge, you will need to submit your TPD discharge application and corresponding supporting information to the United States Department of Education. Some of the information must be completed by your treating doctor.

The best way to start the application process is through the online application process. Although the entire application cannot be completed online, you can enter specific information and then print the application to complete the remaining sections.

Another option is to simply download and print the blank application, complete all necessary sections, and send the application and the supporting documentation to the Department of Education.

If you do not have the means to print the application via your own computer you can also call the Department of Education and request an application. To request a TPD discharge application by phone or by mail by calling the Department of Education.

What information will prove I have a total and permanent disability?

Unfortunately, having a short doctor’s note that you cannot work will not be sufficient to have your student loans discharged or to receive a TPD discharge for total and permanent disability. The Department of Education will expect you to have specific information to prove you are totally and permanently disabled. You can show that you have a total and permanent disability in one of the following three ways:

Receiving a disability discharge is one way to relieve the burden of repaying a student loan. Although it may not set you on the road to financial recovery, it can definitely help.

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