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Managing Student Loans and Your Diagnosis

Student loans. Two words that every person who has attended college does not like to hear. But, it is a reality that you must confront or it could wreak havoc on your life.

Lung cancer. Two words that NO one likes to hear. Many people who have lung cancer continue to work. However, many, if not most, eventually end up on Social Security Disability.  We all know that Social Security Disability monthly financial benefits are not enough to sustain a single person, much less someone with a family to support.

At some point, after your disability has been approved and while receiving treatment, you will come to the realization that you owe money to Uncle Sam for all those student loans.  So many thoughts – How can I pay this?  Are the payments more than my income? Wow, my credit score dropped due to being delinquent on my student loans.

Understanding Total and Permanent Disability Discharge

What can you do?  First, don’t panic.  According to

“A total and permanent disability (TPD) discharge relieves you from having to repay a William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program loan, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loan, and/or Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) Program loan or complete a Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant service obligation on the basis of your total and permanent disability. Before your federal student loans or TEACH Grant service obligation can be discharged, you must provide information to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to show that you are totally and permanently disabled. ED will evaluate the information and determine if you qualify for a TPD discharge.”1

Learn More

The process is fairly simple and straightforward.  Information can be found here.  You may have your own personal loans that you received during your education such as Direct Subsidized and Indirect Subsidized Loans or you may be a parent who applied and received a Parent PLUS loan.  All of these types of loans are applicable to having it discharged due to a permanent disability.

To begin your application ONLINE for TPD Discharge, click here.

To download and print a paper application, click here and you will find the link for the PDF file.  There is also information how you can begin your application via the telephone.  But keep in mind, you must submit documentation to the government confirming your total disability.

Lung cancer can be devastating financially.  Deductibles, co-payments, etc. can take a heavy toll on your finances.  At least this option is available to help ease the burden.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Total and Permanent Disability Discharge. Federal Student Aid. Available at: