President Joe Biden is a huge multi-tasker. Just this week, he ended the 20-Year Afghanistan War, dealt with the naysayers and critics about the surprising collapse of its nation’s military, and has a dramatically increasing coronavirus pandemic. But wait, there is more, much more, and it is not even Friday yet.
There was a guy outside of the Library of Congress claiming he had a bomb on Thursday. The president has three Republican state governors trying to outlaw schools’ mask mandate for hundreds of thousands of innocent children under the age of 12. So he had his Education Secretary Miguel Cardona do everything possible to counteract their mandates. Then, he had Cardona take on one more task, a monumental task that will affect the already difficult lives of those living with a permanent disability. President Biden’s gift to the disability community was phenomenal.
Our president commanded Secretary Cardona to forgive all of the student debt for people who have a permanent disability visible or not, The Washington Post reported. For example, severe fibromyalgia (FMS) is every bit as debilitating as someone injured in a car accident. But many doctors do not believe it is even real.
The Secretary, who was a classroom educator, spoke with reporters via phone on Thursday about the $5.8 billion package. He said:
‘The Department of Education is evolving practices to make sure that we’re keeping the borrowers first and that we’re providing relief without having them jump through hoops. I’ve heard from borrowers over the last six months that the processes are too difficult so we’re simplifying it.’
The world of disabilities is extremely difficult. There are the obvious issues surrounding a physical disability but also emotional issues. Then, there is the seemingly endless red-tape morass that can have zero logic in it.
One individual with a permanent disability got a letter saying that the state of Kansas would take his house when he died to repay his “debt” to the state. Never mind that it is disability insurance normally without a need for repayment. The man was on the edge of committing suicide.
A woman found 15 percent of her meager disability insurance check missing. When she called her state, the woman who answered was rude, insisting she had sent her a letter explaining all this. No letter arrived, because the government worker sent it to an old address. Round and round they went. The woman said she cried every day for a year over problem after problem.
A physician, the Social Security Administration, or the Department of Veterans Affairs can declare an individual has a complete and permanent disability. Even that is a huge improvement.
One man was refused his disability status. The avid disability activist frequently could be seen in Washington, D.C. chaining himself to a government building to call attention to different injustices. He took the state to court. As he rode his electric scooter down the court aisle. The judge took one look at him and said “Give it to him.”
Each year for three years, borrowers must submit documentation to verify their income does not go over the poverty line. This requirement often causes people to have their loans reinstated. In March, President Biden waived the paperwork requirement throughout the pandemic and made it retroactive to March 13, 2020. That was the date Donald Trump called the pandemic a national emergency.
Cardona said the Education Department will extend the income waiver and consider eliminating the requirement altogether through October. The department has proposed new rules to automatically discharge the payment for anyone identified as eligible extending through “data matching initiatives with Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration.”
Chief Counsel at the National Student Legal Defense Network Dan Zibel said:
‘This is a life-altering announcement for hundreds of thousands of student loan borrowers with disabilities. Today’s step is another indication that the Department is listening to the voices of student loan borrowers.’
A bipartisan coalition of congressional legislators asked for Donald Trump to automatically discharge the debt just as he had done in 2019 for permanently disabled veterans. They included Senators Christopher Coons (D-DE) and Rob Portman (R-OH). But the Trump administration blew their request off and hundreds of thousands of borrowers with disabilities defaulted on their loans.
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.
Three White Lions podcast, Gloria Christie reads her week’s most important news/ commentary stories in the liberal online newspaper The Bipartisan Report. Gloria Christie Report her newsletter for people on the go. Written in her own unique style with a twist of humor in a briefer version of Bipartisan Report. Christie’s Mueller Report Adventures In Bite-Sizes a real-life compelling spy mystery. Find her here on Facebook.