House Passes Bill to Automatically Forgive Student Loans for Disabled Veterans
March 13, 2020

​​​​​​​Permanently disabled veterans would automatically have their student loan debts canceled under a bill passed by the House on March 10.

The Federally Requiring Earned Education-Debt Discharges for Veterans Act (FREED Vets Act), bipartisan legislation introduced by Reps. Conor Lamb (D-PA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), would clarify existing law to ensure that veterans with a total and permanent disability (TPD) rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs would have their federal student loans discharged automatically by the Education Department (ED)​—with no application from the veteran required.

According to department estimates from November 2018, more than 42,000 severely disabled veterans were potentially eligible for this relief, but only 20 percent reportedly had applied for the benefit. In August, President Trump  announced that he was eliminating student loan debt for disabled veterans, and ED recently has taken steps to streamline the process for receiving a TPD loan discharge.

However, there have been questions about the department’s authority to take these steps and whether veterans are receiving debt relief in a timely and seamless way. Given the importance of ensuring loan relief for severely disabled veterans, as ACE told Reps. Lamb and Fitzpatrick in a letter of support for the bill, it is critical to have these changes codified in federal statute