Can my daughter’s student debt be canceled?


Q. My daughter needed a cosigner when she borrowed money for college. Her brother was her cosigner. She received her degree but then became ill and wasn’t able to hold down a job and she later filed for bankruptcy. My husband and I try to help with the loan payments but we don’t have the means. The loan was sold many times and we don’t know who is responsible. What can she do to have this debt canceled?
— Worried

A. It might be possible, but it will depend on the specifics of her situation.

Many people with federal loans who have a permanent disability and are unable to work can get their student loans discharged, said Karra Kingston, a bankruptcy attorney in Union City.

You have to be totally and permanently disabled and apply for a TPD (totally and permanently disabled) discharge, she said.

“A TPD discharge relieves an individual from having to pay back their student loans,” she said. “To qualify, you must show evidence from the Social Security Administration or a physician that you can’t work.

A physician will need to certify that your physical or mental impairment is expected to result in death, has lasted for a period of at least 60 months or can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 60 months, she said.

“If you are denied, you can always look into different repayment options,” she said. “Federal student loans offer individuals income based repayment plans where they won’t have to pay all of their student loans back.”

To find out who holds the loan, Kingston recommends you pull a credit report and see if it details the holder of the loan. If that doesn’t work, you can call the original lender to see who they sold the loan off to and go from there, she said.

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This story was originally published on July 28, 2021. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.