Roles & Responsibilities for Discharge Applicants, Loan Holders, and Physicians
Each participant in the total and permanent disability discharge process--borrowers, loan holders, and physicians--has certain responsibilities. Click on the appropriate link to learn about the responsibilities for each group: Borrower Responsibilities, Loan Holder Responsibilities, Physician Responsibilities.
Complete Sections 1 and 3 of the Application
Read over the entire application carefully. Make sure to provide all required information in Sections 1 and 3 of the application. Include your Social Security Number (SSN), name, home address, city, state, and zip code, and any phone numbers and e-mail addresses. If your name or address is preprinted on the application, make sure the information is correct or fix any errors.
Write your name and SSN in the boxes at the top of page 2 of the application.
Ensure the Physician Completes Section 4 of the Application
It is especially important for your physician to fully complete "Section 4: Physician's Certification" of the application. Your physician must document your medical condition clearly and in detail by responding to the questions in Section 4. Your physician must be a doctor of medicine or osteopathy legally authorized to practice in one of the 50 states of the U.S., the District of Columbia, or a U.S. territory (see definition for physician).
You should also consider sharing with your physician a copy of the For Physicians page and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for physicians.
Sign and Date the Application
You, or your representative, must sign and date the application in "Section 3: Applicant's Request for Discharge."
If a representative signs the form on your behalf, the representative must also provide the information required for "Applicant's Representative" in Section 3, and must make sure that all required information in Sections 1 and 4 has been provided.
Mail the Application
Submit the application, or photocopy of the application, to each of your loan holder(s). You may submit a photocopy of the application, but you or your representative must provide an original signature on each photocopy.
Post-Discharge Monitoring Period
If you are granted a discharge, the U.S. Department of Education will monitor your status during a 3-year post-discharge monitoring period that begins on the date the discharge is granted. During this monitoring period, you must:
Promptly notify the Department if your annual earnings from employment exceed the poverty line amount for a family of two in the borrower’s state, regardless of actual family size;
Promptly notify the Department of any changes in your address or telephone number; and
Upon request, provide the Department with documentation of your annual earnings from employment.
Your discharged loan or TEACH Grant service obligation will be reinstated and you will be required to repay the discharged loan or complete the discharged service obligation if, within the 3-year post-discharge monitoring period, you do not meet the requirements outlined under Apply for a Discharge.
Loan Holder Responsibilities
Review the Application
Make sure that all information requested in Sections 1, 3, and 4 has been provided, and that Sections 3 and 4 have been signed by the borrower (or the borrower's representative) and the certifying physician.
Verify that the application was submitted within 90 days of the date that the physician certified the borrower’s TPD application.
If any portion of the application is incomplete or if Section 4 lacks required medical information, return the application to the borrower or contact the physician to request additional information.
Conclude the Review
Determine whether the application supports the conclusion that the borrower is totally and permanently disabled.
Research the borrower's loan history in the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). Make sure that the borrower has not received any disbursements on loans with a date on or after the date the physician signed the borrower's application. If there are no disbursements on or after the physician's signature date, continue processing the borrower's TPD application. (It is okay if the borrower received a consolidation loan after the date the physician signed the application; you may continue processing the application.)
If there is a disbursement on or after the date the physician signed the borrower's application (Physician Signature Date), then check the loan status to determine if the loan associated with that disbursement has been canceled and the outstanding loan is zero. If the loan status is canceled and the balance is zero, proceed with processing the application.
If a borrower receives a FFEL, Perkins, or Direct Loan program loan or a Teach Grant prior to the date the physician signed the application and a disbursement of that loan or grant is made on or after the Physician Signature Date and before the date the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) grants discharge, the loan holder must suspend processing of the borrower’s loan discharge request until the borrower ensures that the full amount of the disbursement has been returned to the loan holder or to the Department, as applicable.
Validate Physician's License
When the Department reviews a discharge application that accompanies an assignment file, we verify that the physician’s license is current and valid. A valid license includes the physician’s name, license number, and an expiration date that is in the future. If the physician’s license is not current or valid, the Department will reject the assignment.
In order to avoid a rejected loan assignment, validate the physician’s license before making the assignment to the Department. Loan holders can validate most U.S. states’ medical licenses on-line at the state’s medical licensing agency website or on the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Web site. For West Virginia, call the medical licensing agency at (304) 558-2921. For Puerto Rico, we recommend contacting the physician’s office directly to validate the license over the phone, or obtain a copy of the physician’s license. To validate the license over the phone, document the physician’s name, license number, and the expiration date of the license. Include the copy of the physician’s license, or the license information gathered over the phone, with the assignment file.
Assign the Loan to U.S. Department of Education
If it is determined that the application supports the conclusion that the borrower is totally and permanently disabled, the loan holder assigns the loan to the Department’s Total and Permanent Disability Discharge Servicer following the procedures outlined in the TPD Discharge Assignment Procedures.
• Evaluate whether the borrower meets the Department’s definition of totally and permanently disabled