Repaying Your Student Loan


Total and Permanent Disability Discharge

The federal student aid programs provide for discharge of certain types of federal student loans and/or Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program service obligations if an otherwise eligible individual is determined to be totally and permanently disabled.

You may be eligible for a total and permanent disability discharge if you:

  • Have become unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment that can be expected to result in death, has lasted for a continuous period of at least 60 months, or can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 60 months, or
  • Have been determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to be unemployable due to a service-connected condition, or
  • Have received a Social Security Administration (SSA) notice of award for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) stating that your next scheduled disability review will be 5 to 7 years or more from the date of your last SSA disability determination, and you provide a copy of that SSA notice of award.

You must contact Nelnet, the Department's TPD servicer, to advise them of your intent to request a total and permanent disability discharge, obtain applications to apply for the discharge, and to obtain other important information related to the discharge process. You may contact Nelnet online at, by phone at (888) 303-7818, or send an email to

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