Education Department revamps broken disability review program

The Education Department proposed new rules on Tuesday to revamp its troubled program for forgiving the federal student loans of borrowers who become disabled, ProPublica reports. The new regulations came after an investigation last year by ProPublica found that the department’s dysfunctional system for evaluating disability was keeping many genuinely disabled borrowers buried in student debt. Under federal law, borrowers who develop severe and lasting disabilities are entitled to get their loans forgiven. The department’s proposed reforms would streamline the application process and improve its communication with borrowers, eliminating many of the bureaucratic hurdles that frustrated applicants in the past. But the department rejected a key reform that would have allowed many disabled borrowers to bypass its review altogether 2014 tying the Education Department’s standard for disability to that of the Social Security Administration, so that Social Security disability findings could be used to discharge loans…

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