If you’re disabled in southern California and you need to receive Social Security disability payments, speak at once with an experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability attorney. You should know, however, that if you still owe the federal government payments on a federal student loan, it may impact the amount of benefits you’re eligible to receive. In fact, according to statistics recently issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the number of Social Security beneficiaries whose benefits were reduced to help pay their student loan debt increased five-fold increase between 2002 and 2013. If you owe money on a student loan, it doesn’t matter how long ago you were in school. A 2005 U.S. Supreme Court case (Lockhart v. U.S.) determined there is no statute of limitations on the government’s right to garnish Social Security benefit payments to repay student loans.
However, if a student loan debtor is determined to be totally and permanently disabled (TPD), he or she may be eligible for debt forgiveness. While a TPD determination is technically distinct from a Social Security Administration (SSA) disability finding, the Department of Education will accept an SSA disability finding as proof of a debtor’s TPD status, provided that the individual is required to undergo a continuing disability review (CDR) every five to seven years. When a disability benefits applicant receives a notice of award from the SSA with a CDR schedule, the applicant can then apply online for a TPD determination through the U.S. Department of Education’s website. If a notice of award does not contain a CDR schedule, a disability benefits applicant may need to request it from the SSA.
It is important to note that student loan debt forgiveness applies only to certain types of federal student loans. To learn more, or if you need to apply for Social Security disability benefits in the Los Angeles area, discuss your situation at once with an experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability attorney.