And so it begins:
The Obama administration on Monday began sending letters to nearly 400,000 people with permanent disabilities, in an attempt to help them through the process of discharging their student loans.
The U.S. Department of Education last week announced a new process to identify those eligible for an already existing federal loan forgiveness program set up for those who are permanently or severely disabled and unable to work.
The letter campaign was set to begin April 18, and included approximately 387,000 people the agency has identified as eligible; 179,000 of those people are already in default. The department estimates the loans eligible for forgiveness amount to about $7.8 billion.
Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell said last week that too few borrowers have used the program as they may not know about it, or found it too complicated to apply.
“These are people who are struggling with health issues. We want to take one worry off their plate,” Mitchell said in an interview with The Associated Press. He said the department worked with the Social Security Administration to identify those with loans who were also receiving disability payments and were deemed permanently disabled.
So, by “permanent disabilities” what exactly do we mean?
Lest one think it is people in wheelchairs, think again.
Here is the Social Security Administration’s list of recognized ‘disabilities’. It’s a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooong list.
The evaluation of disability on the basis of mental disorders requires documentation of a medically determinable impairment(s), consideration of the degree of limitation such impairment(s) may impose on your ability to work, and consideration of whether these limitations have lasted or are expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months. The listings for mental disorders are arranged in nine diagnostic categories: Organic mental disorders (12.02); schizophrenic, paranoid and other psychotic disorders (12.03); affective disorders (12.04); intellectual disability (12.05); anxiety-related disorders (12.06); somatoform disorders (12.07); personality disorders (12.08); substance addiction disorders (12.09); and autistic disorder and other pervasive developmental disorders (12.10).
Even substance abuse qualifies as a ‘disability’.