The US Department of Education published Dear Colleague Letter FP-09-01 on February 9, 2009, announcing the approval of a revised Discharge Application: Total and Permanent Disability for use by borrowers in the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL), William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan), and Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) programs, and by recipients of grants under the Teacher Education for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program.
The revised Discharge Application: Total and Permanent Disability incorporates the changes made to the terms of total and permanent disability discharges made by the Title IV final regulations for the FFEL, Direct Loan and Perkins Loan program that were published on November 1, 2007 (effective July 1, 2008), as well as the provisions of the TEACH Grant Program final regulations published on June 23, 2008 that allow for the discharge of a TEACH Grant recipients’ service obligation based on total and permanent disability.
The revised form also reflects one of the changes made by the Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 100-315) (HEOA) to the provisions of the Higher Education Act governing total and permanent disability discharges. This change established a new standard for determining that certain veterans are totally and permanent disabled for Title IV loan discharge purposes. Specifically, a veteran who has been determined by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to be unemployable due to a service-connected condition or disability and who provides documentation of that determination will be considered totally and permanently disabled for loan discharge purposes, and will not be required to provide any additional documentation to establish his or her eligibility for discharge.
Other HEOA provisions affecting total and permanent disability discharges require implementing regulations and thus will necessitate further changes to the discharge application at a later date.
The revised Discharge Application: Total and Permanent Disability can be distributed immediately to borrowers. Beginning July 1, 2009, only the revised form may be provided to borrowers. However, the previous version of the form may continue to be accepted after this date.
For copies of the application, please visit www.hesaa.org.