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Education United States Politics

Obama Is Forgiving the Student Loans of Nearly 400,000 Permanently Disabled People (marketwatch.com) 406

An anonymous reader writes: Hundreds of thousands of student loan borrowers will now have an easier path to getting their loans discharged, the Obama administration has announced. The Department of Education will send letters to 387,000 people they've identified as being eligible for a total and permanent disability discharge, a designation that allows federal student loan borrowers who can't work because of a disability to have their loans forgiven. The borrowers identified by the Department won't have to go through the typical application process for receiving a disability discharge, which requires sending in documented proof of their disability. Instead, the borrower will simply have to sign and return the completed application enclosed in the letter.
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Obama Is Forgiving the Student Loans of Nearly 400,000 Permanently Disabled People

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  • by supernova87a ( 532540 ) <kepler1@hot m a il.com> on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @01:10PM (#51901543)
    I know that it's good to be charitable in personal views, and public policy. And you should not make the process onerous. But having no verification of disability by some authority is going to lead to abuse of this entitlement. And it just has to be a small fraction of people who take advantage, to undermine trust that the taxpayer is not being ripped off.

    This is significant money being given forgiven. The administration would serve themselves better if they put up even small, reasonable checks on who is able to actually get this benefit.

    Just like how you start to get very mad at people who are able to abuse handicapped parking spots because the govt is totally lax about who get to use this benefit (not just who has the placard, but who uses it). Trust in the appearance of public institutions is just as important as actual functioning -- a small number of cases of fraud and abuse can undermine it.
    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      Clearly, they already know who is qualified or they wouldn't know who to send the forms to. I would guess a quick query of the SSI roles would tell them all they need.

      I understand your confusion, government usually likes you to jump through a few hoops and lick their hand before they acknowledge the obvious.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It says it applies to people who get benefits because they can't work. Aren't there checks for that? In the UK there are rigourous and actually quite harmful tests.

      • by s.petry ( 762400 )

        It says it applies to people who get benefits because they can't work. Aren't there checks for that? In the UK there are rigourous and actually quite harmful tests.

        I believe there was a qualifier of "good" checks, because what we have is anything but rigorous as you claim to have in the UK.

        Don't misunderstand, we do have some checking. It's very subjective as to whether or not it actually prevents fraud.

    • by butchersong ( 1222796 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @01:35PM (#51901799)
      Disability is the new welfare. It is another place we hide true unemployment numbers. In a time where every business has to be handicapped accessible and when most of us that earn a good living do so by basically sitting on our arse all day in front of a monitor, the term "permanently disabled" with the possible exceptions of quadriplegics and such strikes me as pretty ridiculous.
      • by WrongMonkey ( 1027334 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @01:55PM (#51901983)
        By far the largest diagnostic group of people getting federal disability insurance benefits, 35.2%, have been diagnosed with a mental disorder. Within that group, the most common is mood disorders which account for 14% of all disability beneficiaries.

        http://www.cnsnews.com/news/ar... [cnsnews.com]

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        I'm not entirely sure if you're critical of phony unemployment statistics (like the kind that eliminate "discouraged workers", the people who have given up looking) or whether you think that "disability" is a new code word for lazy.

        I'm inclined to believe that there's more to disability than simply being quadriplegic. There's all the hassles of getting to and from work. Maybe less of a burden if you grew up that way and you've adapted your entire life to that "lifestyle" but what if you already owned a hou

      • by jittles ( 1613415 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @02:57PM (#51902595)

        Disability is the new welfare. It is another place we hide true unemployment numbers. In a time where every business has to be handicapped accessible and when most of us that earn a good living do so by basically sitting on our arse all day in front of a monitor, the term "permanently disabled" with the possible exceptions of quadriplegics and such strikes me as pretty ridiculous.

        I have to say that your post made me pretty angry. I have a degenerative neck injury. While I am perfectly capable of getting around and living a relatively active lifestyle, there are days where I can't get out of bed. Eventually I will probably have to go on disability. Sure I sit at a desk all day but what employer wants to put up with me being unable to work randomly because I'm in too much pain? As it is now I take more time off work than I'd like going to doctors appointments and for treatment. Every 6-18 months I have to have a nerve ablation. It's a pretty painful procedure but I'd already be on disability now without it. I've managed to hold down a job despite my injury for the last 7 years. If I'm lucky I'll be able to make it another 20 before it becomes too much. I have no interest in going on disability but I will be surprised if I can avoid it my entire life. Crack a few vertebrae in your neck and tell me how you feel even when youre "just sitting on your arse all day."

        • I didn't mean to indicate that I think you are or in the future will be one of those drains on society that we tend to see caricatured in conservative media. My perspective on disability is colored by my experiences and I grew up in what was pretty much a coal town. It might be unfair to say that everyone I know and encountered that went on disability didn't do so because they couldn't work but that is pretty close to the truth. They did so because they just couldn't find a job. It may be that my perspec
    • Here [studentdebtrelief.us] are the checks and process that an applicant must go through to get the loan forgiven.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      These are people receiving disability benefits from Social Security, if you want to combat fraud it'd be wiser to improve the checks there. The problem here is those that are eligible aren't aware of the program, everybody knows there are handicap parking spots but if you can't see it and nobody tells you and you never apply it doesn't happen automatically. Also it seems about half are already defaulting and since they're permanently disabled they'll probably never recover from that, this is just as much a

      • These are people receiving disability benefits from Social Security...

        Maybe not. Some of them may be vets, using a combination of GI Bill and student loans to finance their education. If they have a condition that's later ruled to be Service Connected, their compensation comes from the VA, not Social Security. I know because when my hearing started to go about ten years ago it was ruled that it was caused by my exposure to outbound shore bombardment back in '72, and my diabetes was eventually listed a
    • by jittles ( 1613415 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @02:50PM (#51902517)

      Just like how you start to get very mad at people who are able to abuse handicapped parking spots because the govt is totally lax about who get to use this benefit (not just who has the placard, but who uses it). Trust in the appearance of public institutions is just as important as actual functioning -- a small number of cases of fraud and abuse can undermine it.

      I don't get mad at ANYONE who uses a handicapped parking spot (with the proper permit). Maybe they're parking the car for a disabled person they dropped off at the front door? Who knows. It's not my place to judge and I have seen someone who was legitimately disabled accosted by someone who didn't think they were disabled enough. It was a young guy I knew that had 4 inches of bone removed from his leg after a drunk driver almost killed him. So why get angry at people who use handicapped permits? Even if you have your own handicap permit that person you're angry at may need it more than you think.

  • Is not it awesome, when you can spend other people's moneys and get all the credit for your "generosity"?

    Are single mothers next on the list? Their's is a difficult lot too.

    How about racial minorities — we know, they are economically disadvantaged [financialjuneteenth.com] as well?

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      So what's your alternative, horse whip the disabled until they hop out of that wheelchair and sweep the floor?

      The money was gone anyway. They physically lost the ability to ever pay the loan back. There's no need to keep needling them about it.

      • by mi ( 197448 )

        So what's your alternative, horse whip the disabled until they hop out of that wheelchair and sweep the floor?

        "Disabled" does not mean "insolvent" [wikipedia.org].

        They physically lost the ability to ever pay the loan back.

        Responsible people carry disability insurance. Irresponsible ones get "forgiven" by the government. Which group would you like to shrink and which to expand?

        • by sjames ( 1099 )

          I guess it's fortunate that Dr. Hawking's intellect was left intact. Some don't get that benefit.

          BTW, the way disability is set up in the U.S., it pretty much does mean permanent insolvency.

          But back to the point, the money is GONE, what is the actual point (other than self-righteous cruelty) in spending more money needling them about it periodically?

          • it pretty much does mean permanent insolvency.

            Not if you carry disability insurance.

            But, like I asked earlier, why stop at the disabled? Single mothers rarely prosper too — should their loans be summarily forgiven in the same fashion? Why not?

            what is the actual point [...] in spending more money needling them about it periodically?

            Good question! How would a bank go about it? Maybe, this whole business of student loans should've remained in private hands [collegeinsurrection.com], huh? Then it would've been discussed by the b

        • Responsible people carry disability insurance.

          And if they can't afford it??

          Dumbass.

    • by dywolf ( 2673597 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @02:55PM (#51902567)

      oh just shut the f up.

      if you became disabled and can no longer work, how are you going to pay back the loan?
      if you become disabled and unable to work, which is who this is talking about, you can discharge most other debts under bankruptcy. that is right and just, and a purpose of bankruptcy, allowing people to move forward.

      but you cannot discharge student loan debt under bankruptcy.
      this remedies that. and as such, loan forgiveness in this situation is perfectly just and logical, except to small minded idiots like you.

      and its not technically spending anything.
      the money's already spent.
      and in most cases already repaid, on a dollar for dollar basis.
      its the interest games that hold this debt over peoples heads for so long, because for some reason banks are more deserving of 0% interest rate loans than our future workforce, because we can't seem to make the same jump the rest of world has to seeing educational as a investment in the future instead of something be loaned.

  • Makes sense to me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @01:26PM (#51901711)

    I know everyone's going to scream "evil socialism! disability fraud!" but people who actually qualify for a permanent and total disability are never going to be able to fully benefit from their education. Whether it's the inability to do physical work or acknowledging the discrimination that disabled people encounter in the workplace, the result is the same.

    In this case, it makes sense to make it easy to get rid of the debt. If I recall correctly, student loans are almost impossible to discharge any other way. Bankruptcy doesn't get rid of them, nor does crippling financial hardship. There is a process to forgive them due to hardship but it's so onerous that no one in a normal situation would qualify.

    • That's like 5% of all people. Are people sicker now than ever before?

      http://ldihealtheconomist.com/... [ldihealtheconomist.com]
  • Old News (Score:5, Informative)

    by jklovanc ( 1603149 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @01:34PM (#51901781)

    This program has been around since 2010. The only difference now is that the administration is sending out letters to people they see as eligible for this program. Up until now there have been few who have applied for it. It could be they do not know about it, think it is too difficult, or that they do not qualify. All the letter does is emphasize that they can apply and sets out the process. This is not a straight out forgiveness. Each disabled person must apply [studentdebtrelief.us] and be approved to have their loan forgiven.

  • benefits ran out in 2013. Which means either people who are unemployed are much more likely to slip and fall in their bathtub or that they're gaming the system. The same will likely happen for students with this new policy.
    • yep, starting a positive correlation between student debt and permanent disability. Soon we find out being white-collar increases the chances of permanent disability.
    • This sounded interesting to me, so I decided to take a peek.

      It doesn't look like there was a significant jump in claims from 2012 to 2013 - the number of claims actually decreased: https://www.ssa.gov/oact/STATS... [ssa.gov]

      There WAS a significant jump from 2008-2009 (about a 500k increase), but I don't see anything close to a 43% jump.

      Can you show me where you got your data, or are we looking at completely different information (maybe claims to state aid instead of federal)?

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @01:44PM (#51901897)

    student loan need the old bankruptcy rules.

    Under the rules in place the schools are jacking of there rates and are willing to take just about any one with the banks giving out loans to just about any one with pulse.

    100K before interest for a masters in medieval studies we don't care that will not get much then working at Walmart.

    80K before interest for a BA in women studies sign hear.

  • Until you or someone in your family has tried to obtain disability benefits through SSA/SSI you can have no idea what an ordeal it can be --- or the restrictions that come with it. Consider yourself fortunate if you do not have to go to Legal Aid for help for an appeal before an administrative law judge.

    You can live modestly on an SSI budget, but those student loans will never be repaid, and it is fantasy to pretend otherwise.

  • Which article of or amendement to the Constitution puts the president in charge of student loan payments?

    • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @03:07PM (#51902683)

      Which article of or amendement to the Constitution puts the president in charge of student loan payments?

      The Administration (i.e., the officials in the executive branch of government under a particular chief executive) is responsible for implementing the law and regulations that Congress approves.

  • I mean, sure, they got jobs related to their field of study but it would sure be nice to get them forgiven. Get a letter, sing and return and, like magic, debt gone. Don't start with me about fraud or any of that other bullshit. I pay more in taxes now than all my other expenses combined (I've just done my taxes so I can tell you this is 100% accurate). If my kids can get their debt forgiven, then we'll do it. I don't care what anyone else says. If Obama decrees it's cool for them to do it, who are any of u
    • by AgNO3 ( 878843 )
      There is literally no change in the law, He is just making the loan providers do it proactively.
  • by AgNO3 ( 878843 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @02:50PM (#51902525) Homepage
    The only thing Obama is doing is proactively canceling disabled people's loans. Its always been the case that if you are officially disabled that your can get your loans forgiven. The only thing he is doing is making the loan servicers proactively do it instead of waiting for the disabled person or family to do it.

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