Extra Benefits Available to Social Security Disability Recipients

Q: Can my student loans be forgiven if I receive Social Security disability benefits?

Facing a disability is frightening. It could happen to any of us at any time through an illness or an injury. In addition to being painful, long-term disabilities are often accompanied by stress over providing for our families. Specifically, we worry about paying mounting bills for basic things like food and shelter and other bills like student loans.

Social Security disability attorneys can help those who have become disabled obtain government benefits like Social Security disability insurance (“SSDI”) or Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”). An experienced attorney can help streamline the rigorous administrative process of applying for disability benefits.

SSDI benefits are available to those under 65 who satisfy the government’s definition of “disabled” and who have accumulated the required minimum number of work credits prior to becoming disabled. Essentially, the person must’ve worked for a certain number of hours for a certain number of years and paid into the Social Security system through payroll taxes in order to qualify for SSDI. The disability can be physical or mental or both. A person is considered “disabled” if they “suffer from a physical or mental impairment that prevents engaging in substantial gainful activities and that has lasted, or is expected to last, for 12 months or more or result in death.”

Unlike SSDI, SSI is a needs–based program for those who are either over 65, blind, or disabled and who have extremely limited financial resources. Sometimes people may qualify for both disability benefit programs.

In addition to helping you through the disability benefits application process or handling a disability benefits appeal, a skilled attorney devoted to practicing disability law can advise you about other benefits you might be entitled to as a disabled person.

One such a benefit is the forgiveness of certain federal student loans in the case of a total and permanent disability. That means Social Security disability benefit recipients may be able to have the balance of their unpaid federal student loans forgiven—a potentially huge relief for those already financially challenged by an unexpected permanent and total disability, especially given the increasingly high costs of a college education.

In related news, legislation has been proposed that would offer similar federal student loan forgiveness to veterans who become totally and permanently disabled and unemployable due to a service-connected condition. The legislation is aimed at cutting “bureaucratic red tape” and proactively identifying and notifying veterans who have incurred a total and permanent disability and also have outstanding federal student loans that they are eligible to have those loans discharged.

If you need assistance applying for Social Security disability benefits or appealing a denial of those benefits, the disability attorneys at Roeschke Law can help you. Call us today at 800-975-1866 from our offices in Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson, we represent disabled clients throughout Arizona.