Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), cofounder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, today introduced the PLUS Loan Disability Forgiveness Act, legislation that would provide debt relief for parents whose children become permanently disabled. Langevin was joined by Congressmen Glenn "GT' Thompson (R-PA), Peter Roskam (R-IL), and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL). Most federal student loans are discharged if the student borrower dies or sustains a Total and Permanent Disability (TPD), but loans taken out by parents are only discharged if the student dies. This bill would extend disability forgiveness to Parent PLUS Loans.
"Student loan debt is crushing American families, and parents should not be further burdened if their child becomes disabled," Congressman Langevin said. "Disability loan discharge applies to almost all other student loans, and it is simply wrong that a parent struggling with a child's sudden disability is not also afforded this forgiveness. My bill would close this loophole and allow families to focus on healing, not servicing debt."
"As a former recreational therapist, I am familiar with the unique set of challenges parents face as they guide their children through the process of recovering from a sudden disability," Congressman Thompson said. "I am proud to work with Representative Langevin to streamline the student loan disability forgiveness process and help provide certainty to families coping with life-changing events."
"Adapting to the permanent disability of a child takes a nearly unimaginable toll on any family. The federal government offers to forgive student loan debt in these circumstances -- and it's the right thing to do," Congressman Roskam said. "Unfortunately the government extends this forgiveness to some loans and not others. I am pleased to work with Congressman Langevin to correct this injustice for all families."
"Student debt is a tremendous burden for millions of American families, and our government already rightly forgives debts taken on by students who become disabled," Congressman Krishnamoorthi said. "Parents taking out loans to pay for their child's education should also be eligible to have those loans discharged if their child suddenly becomes disabled. I'm proud to work with my colleagues to close this loophole."
The PLUS Loan Disability Forgiveness Act expands a provision passed by Congress in the Third Higher Education Extension Act of 2006, which authorized the TPD discharge of Parent PLUS Loans for students who became disabled as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. More than 44 million student loan borrowers owe $1.4 trillion in student loan debt in the United States, and the average 2016 college graduate owes over $37,000 in student loan debt.