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Apr 14, 2016 07:37 AM EDT

President Barack Obama To Forgive Student Loans Of Disabled Americans

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President Barack Obama and his administration are planning to forgive $7.7 billion worth of student debt from hundreds of thousands of permanently disabled American students. The Department of Education will be identifying eligible borrowers and will help guide them through applying the Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) loan discharge program.The program only applies to severely disabled Americans who cannot work.

ABC News reports that majority of the eligible disabled Americans are not applying for the program because they do not know it existed or think applying is too much hassle. Loans that have been forgiven through the program will continue receiving their disability payments and Social Security. Additionally, the process has been made easier so that Americans with disabilities can receive their benefits from the government.

"But too many eligible borrowers were falling through the cracks, unaware they were eligible for relief," the US Education Under Secretary Ted Mitchell said in a press release. "Under the new process, we will notify potentially eligible borrowers about the benefit and guide them through steps needed to discharge their loans, helping thousands of borrowers."

Washington Post reports that eligible borrowers will be receiving letters from the government regarding the loan discharge. For those who missed the notification letter the first time, a follow-up will be sent after three months. The government found the eligible candidates through a matching program they created in collaboration with the Social Security Administration.

"The creation of the matching program is a great first step, but the administration needs to go further to ensure that no borrower who has a right to student loan relief has their benefits taken," an expert told the outlet.

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