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Pro Publica – Education Department Adopts Crucial Reform for Disabled Borrowers

Sasha Chavkin (ProPublica) via Chronicle of Higher Education – “The Education Department has enacted a crucial reform on behalf of borrowers who become disabled, issuing new rules this month that will make it easier for those borrowers to get their federal student loans forgiven. The rules, which the department has not publicly announced, for the first time recognize certain disability findings by the Social Security Administration as sufficient grounds to discharge student loans. That step will allow many borrowers to avoid a lengthy double review to determine whether they are truly disabled. Under federal law, borrowers who develop severe and lasting disabilities are entitled to get their loans forgiven. The reform came after an investigation last year by ProPublica and The Chronicle found that the department’s system for evaluating disability was erratic, duplicative, and dysfunctional, and was keeping many genuinely disabled borrowers buried in student debt. The department subsequently promised to revamp the program, but had previously resisted the key reform of waiving a second review for borrowers whom Social Security had already found to suffer from long-term disabilities.”

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