President Joe Biden is not wasting any time showing Americans what he can do for them. He has his people all pumping full speed ahead, and these are not country club acquaintances. No, they are highly qualified experienced individuals. President Biden sent out the $1400 checks, mass-produced the coronavirus vaccinations up to 10 million on Monday, and then there is this.
The Education Department just sent out a press release indicating that over 41,000 individuals had their student loan payments reinstated by the previous administration. Under Biden, people with permanent disabilities will not only get their “previous disability discharges” returned, but they will also get their payments during the coronavirus pandemic refunded.
Then, 190,000 individuals with disabilities in “a three-year disability discharge monitoring period” will no longer have to submit documentation of their income. Although the act of providing documentation appears to be a relatively simple task, it is not necessarily so depending upon the type of disability an individual has.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in the release, according to NPR:
‘Borrowers with total and permanent disabilities should focus on their well-being, not put their health on the line to submit earnings information during the COVID-19 emergency. Waiving these requirements will ensure no borrower who is totally and permanently disabled risks having to repay their loans simply because they could not submit paperwork.’
Previously, the Education Department said that its policy indicates that those who have already received a discharge must send in their earnings documentation. Then, if that income reaches the cut-off amount, they must begin repaying the loan.
Yet, a 2016 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) discovered that almost all of the individuals with disabilities fell below the stated income limit, but they still had to return their proof of income. The new Education Department’s release read:
‘As of today, the Department will not require borrowers who received a total and permanent disability discharge to submit earnings documentation for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. This change will be made retroactive to March 13, 2020, the start of the COVID-19 national emergency.’
The release continued explaining why this was an issue:
‘Additionally, the Department will reverse any reinstatement of loan repayment requirements that occurred during this period because the borrower did not submit earnings information. Impacted borrowers will not be required to later submit documentation of their income for the period covered by the COVID-19 emergency. Borrowers will begin to see their loans return to a discharge status in the coming weeks, including through follow-up communications from their servicer.’
For over 50 years, the U.S. federal law promised student debt relief to borrowers who can no longer work to support themselves because of a severe, permanent disability. However, between March 2016 and September 2019 only 28 percent of the eligible borrowers were receiving the relief.
‘The largest problem has just been a lack of consideration of disability-related needs. We hear about some of these mass (vaccination) sites which are a great way to vaccinate a lot of people at once, but for somebody maybe with autism or with sensory issues that loud, huge, crowded space in itself could be a huge deterrent.’
The Mueller Report Adventures: In Bite-Sizes on this Facebook page. These quick, two-minute reads interpret the report in normal English for busy people. Mueller Bite-Sizes uncovers what is essentially a compelling spy mystery. Interestingly enough, Mueller Bite-Sizes can be read in any order.