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Attorney General Josh Stein Calls for Automatic Student Loan Forgiveness for Permanently Disabled Veterans

Release date: 5/24/2019

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today urged the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) to automatically forgive students loans for veterans who became totally and permanently disabled in connection with their military service. Last year, DOE identified more than 42,000 veterans who were eligible for student loan relief to due to a service-related total and permanent disability.

“Military servicemembers and their families sacrifice immensely in service to our country,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “It’s unjust that they should return home unable to work again as a result of their injuries and be saddled with staggering debt and an unsure financial future. The DOE should give these servicemembers the student loan relief they need to have a fresh start.”

Under federal law, DOE is required to forgive federal student loans of veterans who are totally or permanently disabled as a result of their service, but the department requires these veterans to take several additional steps to apply for loan forgiveness.  As a result, fewer than 9,000 of eligible veterans had applied for student loan forgiveness as of April 2018 and more than 25,000 have defaulted on their student loans.

The coalition of 52 attorneys general is calling on DOE to develop a process to automatically discharge the student loans of veterans that the Department of Veterans Affairs determined to be eligible for such relief, along with the opportunity for individuals to opt-out for personal reasons. The attorneys general also note that while this process is being developed, the DOE should halt debt collection efforts targeting disabled veterans and clear their credit reports of any concerns related to their student loans.

Attorney General Stein is joined in sending today’s letter by the Attorneys General of New Jersey, Utah, Alaska, Alabama, American Samoa, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
 
A copy of the letter is available here.

Contact:
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484    
 

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