20 August 2021
CHINCINNATI, Ohio – US Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Chris Koons (D-DE) and Angus King (I-ME) issued the following statement after the US Department of Education. announced it will automatically repay the outstanding student loans of more than 323,000 Americans with complete and permanent disabilities (TPD). The new regulation removes the requirement for borrowers of student loans with TPDs that have been matched against the Social Security Administration (SSA) to complete an application before receiving assistance. This change will take effect with the department’s next quarterly comparison with SSA in September. In addition, the department will indefinitely stop sending automatic requests for information on income from SSA-compliant borrowers and will seek the cancellation of the three-year monitoring period during the agreed-upon rulemaking in October.
“This Ministry of Education announcement is welcome news for hundreds of thousands of full and permanent disability borrowers who have faced the burden and injustice in obtaining the student debt relief they are legally entitled to.” said the senators. “For years, we have encouraged the department to use its mandate to improve the lives of these student loan borrowers, and we are grateful to Secretary Cardone for taking action to finally address this vital issue by automating the loan repayment process. We will continue to address this issue to ensure that the right borrowers get the help they deserve and look forward to the ongoing monitoring period changes that the department is seeking to bring this fall. ”
While the Higher Education Act of 1965 allows individuals with TPDs to forgive unpaid federal student loans, these borrowers face significant challenges that are administratively burdensome and unnecessary in the application process and income monitoring. Unfortunately, this has resulted in hundreds of thousands of eligible borrowers not receiving the debt relief they are entitled to.
Since 2016, Senators Portman and Koons have spearheaded a bipartisan, bicameral effort to tackle this problem for Americans. In 2017, their Death and Disability Tax Termination ActA bill to abolish the federal tax penalty for federal student loans paid in connection with death or full and permanent disability was passed. Portman cited several letters sent Feb 15 2018Issue:, October 9, 2019, December 5, 2019, and more recently on August 5, 2021 to both the Ministry of Education and its Inspector General on the improvement and automation of the TPD program.