AG: Automatic student loan debt relief for permanently disabled veterans

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ)- Attorney General Andy Beshear joined a bipartisan group of 51 attorneys general urging the U.S. Department of Education to automatically forgive the student loans of veterans who became totally and permanently disabled in connection with their military service.

Last year, DOE identified more than 42,000 veterans eligible for student loan relief due to a service-related total and permanent disability, the attorneys general note in their letter. Fewer than 9,000 of those veterans had applied to have their loans discharged by April 2018, but more than 25,000 had student loans in default.

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The coalition calls on DOE to develop a process for automatically discharging the student loans of veterans determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs to be eligible for such relief.

While the automatic discharge process is in development, the letter proposes, DOE should halt debt collection efforts targeting disabled veterans and clear their credit reports of any negative reporting related to their student loans.

Attorneys general in the neighboring states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia joined Beshear in the call.

Under federal law, DOE is required to discharge the federal student loans of veterans determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs to be unemployable or totally and permanently disabled due to a service-connected condition. Although DOE currently requires disabled veterans to take affirmative steps to apply for a loan discharge, those steps are not required by law.

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