34 CFR 674.61 - Discharge for death or disability.

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§ 674.61 Discharge for death or disability.
(a) Death. An institution must discharge the unpaid balance of a borrower's Defense, NDSL, or Perkins loan, including interest, if the borrower dies. The institution must discharge the loan on the basis of an original or certified copy of the death certificate, or an accurate and complete photocopy of the original or certified copy of the death certificate. Under exceptional circumstances and on a case-by-case basis, the chief financial officer of the institution may approve a discharge based upon other reliable documentation supporting the discharge request.
(b) Total and permanent disability as defined in § 674.51(aa)(1).
(1) General.
(i) A borrower's Defense, NDSL, or Perkins loan is discharged if the borrower becomes totally and permanently disabled, as defined in § 674.51(aa)(1), and satisfies the additional eligibility requirements in this section.
(ii) For purposes of paragraph (b) of this section, a borrower's representative or a veteran's representative is a member of the borrower's family, the borrower's attorney, or another individual authorized to act on behalf of the borrower in connection with the borrower's total and permanent disability discharge application. References to a “borrower” or a `“veteran” include, if applicable, the borrower's representative or the veteran's representative for purposes of applying for a total and permanent disability discharge, providing notifications or information to the Secretary, and receiving notifications from the Secretary.
(2) Discharge application process for borrowers who have a total and permanent disability as defined in § 674.51(aa)(1).
(i) If the borrower notifies the institution that the borrower claims to be totally and permanently disabled as defined in § 674.51(aa)(1), the institution must direct the borrower to notify the Secretary of the borrower's intent to submit an application for total and permanent disability discharge and provide the borrower with the information needed for the borrower to notify Secretary.
(ii) If the borrower notifies the Secretary of the borrower's intent to apply for a total and permanent disability discharge, the Secretary—
(A) Provides the borrower with information needed for the borrower to apply for a total and permanent disability discharge;
(B) Identifies all title IV loans owed by the borrower and notifies the lenders of the borrower's intent to apply for a total and permanent disability discharge;
(C) Directs the lenders to suspend efforts to collect from the borrower for a period not to exceed 120 days; and
(D) Informs the borrower that the suspension of collection activity described in paragraph (b)(2)(ii)(C) of this section will end after 120 days and the collection will resume on the loans if the borrower does not submit a total and permanent disability discharge application to the Secretary within that time.
(iii) If the borrower fails to submit an application for a total and permanent disability discharge to the Secretary within 120 days, collection resumes on the borrower's title IV loans.
(iv) The borrower must submit to the Secretary an application for total and permanent disability discharge on a form approved by the Secretary. The application must contain—
(A) A certification by a physician, who is a doctor of medicine or osteopathy legally authorized to practice in a State, that the borrower is totally and permanently disabled as defined in § 674.51(aa)(1); or
(B) A Social Security Administration (SSA) notice of award for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits indicating that the borrower's next scheduled disability review will be within five to seven years.
(v) The borrower must submit the application described in paragraph (b)(2)(iv) of this section to the Secretary within 90 days of the date the physician certifies the application, if applicable.
(vi) After the Secretary receives the application described in paragraph (b)(2)(iv) of this section, the Secretary notifies the holders of the borrower's title IV loans that the Secretary has received a total and permanent disability discharge application from the borrower.
(vii) If the application is incomplete, the Secretary notifies the borrower of the missing information and requests the missing information from the borrower, the borrower's representative, or the physician who provided the certification, as appropriate. The Secretary does not make a determination of eligibility until the application is complete.
(viii) The lender notification described in paragraph (b)(2)(vi) of this section directs the borrower's loan holders to suspend collection activity or maintain the suspension of collection activity on the borrower's title IV loans.
(ix) After the Secretary receives a disability discharge application, the Secretary sends a notice to the borrower that—
(A) States that the application will be reviewed by the Secretary;
(B) Informs the borrower that the borrower's lenders will suspend collection activity or maintain the suspension of collection activity on the borrower's title IV loans while the Secretary reviews the borrower's application for discharge; and
(C) Explains the process for the Secretary's review of total and permanent disability discharge applications.
(3) Secretary's review of the total and permanent disability discharge application.
(i) If, after reviewing the borrower's completed application, the Secretary determines that the physician's certification or the SSA notice of award for SSDI or SSI benefits supports the conclusion that the borrower is totally and permanently disabled as defined in § 674.51(aa)(1), the borrower is considered totally and permanently disabled as of the date—
(A) The physician certified the borrower's application; or
(B) The Secretary received the SSA notice of award for SSDI or SSI benefits.
(ii) The Secretary may require the borrower to submit additional medical evidence if the Secretary determines that the borrower's application does not conclusively prove that the borrower is totally and permanently disabled as defined in § 674.51(aa)(1). As part of the Secretary's review of the borrower's discharge application, the Secretary may require and arrange for an additional review of the borrower's condition by an independent physician at no expense to the borrower.
(iii) After determining that the borrower is totally and permanently disabled as defined in § 674.51(aa)(1), the Secretary notifies the borrower and the borrower's lenders that the application for a disability discharge has been approved. With this notification, the Secretary provides the date the physician certified the borrower's loan discharge application or the date the Secretary received the SSA notice of award for SSDI or SSI benefits and directs each institution holding a Defense, NDSL, or Perkins Loan made to the borrower to assign the loan to the Secretary.
(iv) The institution must assign the loan to the Secretary within 45 days of the date of the notice described in paragraph (b)(3)(iii) of this section.
(v) After the loan is assigned, the Secretary discharges the borrower's obligation to make further payments on the loan and notifies the borrower and the institution that the loan has been discharged. The notification to the borrower explains the terms and conditions under which the borrower's obligation to repay the loan will be reinstated, as specified in paragraph (b)(6) of this section. Any payments received after the date the physician certified the borrower's loan discharge application or the date the Secretary received the SSA notice of award for SSDI or SSI benefits are returned to the person who made the payments on the loan in accordance with paragraph (b)(8) of this section.
(vi) If the Secretary determines that the physician's certification or the SSA notice of award for SSDI or SSI benefits provided by the borrower does not support the conclusion that the borrower is totally and permanently disabled as defined in § 674.51(aa)(1), the Secretary notifies the borrower and the institution that the application for a disability discharge has been denied. The notification includes—
(A) The reason or reasons for the denial;
(B) A statement that the loan is due and payable to the institution under the terms of the promissory note and that the loan will return to the status that would have existed had the total and permanent disability discharge application not been received;
(C) A statement that the institution will notify the borrower of the date the borrower must resume making payments on the loan;
(D) An explanation that the borrower is not required to submit a new total and permanent disability discharge application if the borrower requests that the Secretary re-evaluate the application for discharge by providing, within 12 months of the date of the notification, additional information that supports the borrower's eligibility for discharge; and
(E) An explanation that if the borrower does not request re-evaluation of the borrower's prior discharge application within 12 months of the date of the notification, the borrower must submit a new total and permanent disability discharge application to the Secretary if the borrower wishes the Secretary to re-evaluate the borrower's eligibility for a total and permanent disability discharge.
(vii) If the borrower requests re-evaluation in accordance with paragraph (b)(3)(vi)(D) of this section or submits a new total and permanent disability discharge application in accordance with paragraph (b)(3)(vi)(E) of this section, the request must include new information regarding the borrower's disabling condition that was not provided to the Secretary in connection with the prior application at the time the Secretary reviewed the borrower's initial application for a total and permanent disability discharge.
(4) Treatment of disbursements made during the period from the date of the physician's certification or the date the Secretary received the SSA notice of award for SSDI or SSI benefits until the date of discharge. If a borrower received a title IV loan or TEACH Grant before the date the physician certified the borrower's discharge application or before the date the Secretary received the SSA notice of award for SSDI or SSI benefits and a disbursement of that loan or grant is made during the period from the date of the physician's certification or the date the Secretary received the SSA notice of award for SSDI or SSI benefits until the date the Secretary grants a discharge under this section, the processing of the borrower's loan discharge application will be suspended until the borrower ensures that the full amount of the disbursement has been returned to the loan holder or to the Secretary, as applicable.
(5) Receipt of new title IV loans or TEACH Grants after the date of the physician's certification or after the date the Secretary received the SSA notice of award for SSDI or SSI benefits. If a borrower receives a disbursement of a new title IV loan or receives a new TEACH Grant made on or after the date the physician certified the borrower's discharge application or on or after the date the Secretary received the SSA notice of award for SSDI or SSI benefits and before the date the Secretary grants a discharge under this section, the Secretary denies the borrower's discharge request and collection resumes on the borrower's loans.
(6) Conditions for reinstatement of a loan after a total and permanent disability discharge.
(i) The Secretary reinstates the borrower's obligation to repay a loan that was discharged in accordance with paragraph (b)(3)(v) of this section if, within three years after the date the Secretary granted the discharge, the borrower—
(A) Has annual earnings from employment that exceed 100 percent of the poverty guideline for a family of two, as published annually by the United States Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 9902(2);
(B) Receives a new TEACH Grant or a new loan under the Perkins or Direct Loan programs, except for a Direct Consolidation Loan that includes loans that were not discharged;
(C) Fails to ensure that the full amount of any disbursement of a title IV loan or TEACH Grant received prior to the discharge date that is made is returned to the loan holder or to the Secretary, as applicable, within 120 days of the disbursement date; or
(D) Receives a notice from the SSA indicating that the borrower is no longer disabled or that the borrower's continuing disability review will no longer be the five- to seven-year period indicated in the SSA notice of award for SSDI or SSI benefits.
(ii) If the borrower's obligation to repay a loan is reinstated, the Secretary—
(A) Notifies the borrower that the borrower's obligation to repay the loan has been reinstated;
(B) Returns the loan to the status that would have existed had the total and permanent disability discharge application not been received; and
(C) Does not require the borrower to pay interest on the loan for the period from the date the loan was discharged until the date the borrower's obligation to repay the loan was reinstated.
(iii) The Secretary's notification under paragraph (b)(6)(ii)(A) of this section will include—
(A) The reason or reasons for the reinstatement;
(B) An explanation that the first payment due date on the loan following reinstatement will be no earlier than 60 days after the date of the notification of reinstatement; and
(C) Information on how the borrower may contact the Secretary if the borrower has questions about the reinstatement or believes that the obligation to repay the loan was reinstated based on incorrect information.
(7) Borrower's responsibilities after a total and permanent disability discharge. During the three-year period described in paragraph (b)(6)(i) of this section, the borrower must—
(i) Promptly notify the Secretary of any changes in the borrower's address or phone number;
(ii) Promptly notify the Secretary if the borrower's annual earnings from employment exceed the amount specified in paragraph (b)(6)(i)(A) of this section;
(iii) Provide the Secretary, upon request, with documentation of the borrower's annual earnings from employment on a form approved by the Secretary; and
(iv) Promptly notify the Secretary if the borrower receives a notice from the SSA indicating that the borrower is no longer disabled or that the borrower's continuing disability review will no longer be the five- to seven-year period indicated in the SSA notice of award for SSDI or SSI benefits.
(8) Payments received after the physician's certification of total and permanent disability.
(i) If the institution receives any payments from or on behalf of the borrower on or attributable to a loan that has been assigned to the Secretary based on the Secretary's determination of eligibility for a total and permanent disability discharge, the institution must return the payments to the sender.
(ii) At the same time that the institution returns the payments, it must notify the borrower that there is no obligation to make payments on the loan after it has been discharged due to a total and permanent disability unless the loan is reinstated in accordance with § 674.61(b)(6), or the Secretary directs the borrower otherwise.
(iii) When the Secretary discharges the loan, the Secretary returns to the sender any payments received on the loan after the date the borrower became totally and permanently disabled.
(c) Total and permanent disability discharges for veterans.
(1) General. A veteran's Defense, NDSL, or Perkins loan will be discharged if the veteran is totally and permanently disabled, as defined in § 674.51(aa)(2).
(2) Discharge application process for veterans who have a total and permanent disability as defined in § 674.51(aa)(2).
(i) If a veteran notifies the institution that the veteran claims to be totally and permanently disabled as defined in § 674.51(aa)(2), the institution must direct the veteran to notify the Secretary of the veteran's intent to submit an application for a total and permanent disability discharge to the Secretary; and provide the veteran with the information needed for the veteran to apply for a total and permanent disability discharge to the Secretary.
(ii) If the veteran notifies the Secretary of the veteran's intent to apply for a total and permanent disability discharge, the Secretary—
(A) Provides the veteran with information needed for the veteran to apply for a total and permanent disability discharge;
(B) Identifies all title IV loans owed by the veteran and notifies the lenders of the veteran's intent to apply for a total and permanent disability discharge;
(C) Directs the lenders to suspend efforts to collect from the borrower for a period not to exceed 120 days; and
(D) Informs the veteran that the suspension of collection activity described in paragraph (c)(2)(ii)(C) of this section will end after 120 days and collection will resume on the veteran's title IV loans if the veteran does not submit a total and permanent disability discharge application to the Secretary within that time.
(iii) If the veteran fails to submit an application for a total and permanent disability discharge to the Secretary within 120 days, collection resumes on the veteran's title IV loans.
(iv) The veteran must submit to the Secretary an application for total and permanent disability discharge on a form approved by the Secretary.
(v) The application must be accompanied by documentation from the Department of Veteran Affairs showing that the Department of Veteran Affairs has determined that the veteran is unemployable due to a service-connected disability. The veteran will not be required to provide any additional documentation related to the veteran's disability.
(vi) After the Secretary receives the application and supporting documentation described in paragraphs (c)(2)(iv) and (c)(2)(v) of this section, the Secretary notifies the holders of the veteran's title IV loans that the Secretary has received a total and permanent disability discharge application from the veteran.
(vii) If the application is incomplete, the Secretary notifies the veteran of the missing information and requests the missing information from the veteran or the veteran's representative. The Secretary does not make a determination of eligibility until the application is complete.
(viii) The lender notification described in paragraph (c)(2)(vi) of this section directs the lenders to suspend collection activity or maintain the suspension of collection activity on the borrower's title IV loans.
(ix) After the Secretary receives the disability discharge application, the Secretary sends a notice to the veteran that—
(A) States that the application will be reviewed by the Secretary;
(B) Informs the veteran that the veteran's lenders will suspend collection activity on the veteran's title IV loans while the Secretary reviews the borrower's application for a discharge; and
(C) Explains the process for the Secretary's review of total and permanent disability discharge applications.
(3) Secretary's review of the total and permanent disability discharge application.
(i) If, after reviewing the veteran's completed application, the Secretary determines, based on a review of the documentation from the Department of Veterans Affairs, that the veteran is totally and permanently disabled as defined in § 674.51(aa)(2), the Secretary notifies the veteran and the veteran's lenders that the application for disability discharge has been approved. With this notification, the Secretary provides the effective date of the determination and directs each institution holding a Direct, NDSL, or Perkins Loan made to the veteran to discharge the loan.
(ii) The institution returns any payments received on or after the effective date of the determination by the Department of Veterans Affairs that the veteran is unemployable due to a service-connected disability to the person who made the payments.
(iii) If the Secretary determines, based on a review of the documentation from the Department of Veterans Affairs, that the veteran is not totally and permanently disabled as defined in § 674.51(aa)(2), the Secretary notifies the veteran or the veteran's representative, and the institution that the application for a disability discharge has been denied. The notification includes—
(A) The reason or reasons for the denial;
(B) An explanation that the loan is due and payable to the institution under the terms of the promissory note and that the loan will return to the status that would have existed had the total and permanent disability discharge application not been received;
(C) An explanation that the institution will notify the veteran of the date the veteran must resume making payments on the loan;
(D) An explanation that the veteran is not required to submit a new total and permanent disability discharge application if the veteran requests that the Secretary re-evaluate the veteran's application for discharge by providing, within 12 months of the date of the notification, additional documentation from the Department of Veterans Affairs that supports the veteran's eligibility for discharge; and
(E) Information on how the veteran may reapply for a total and permanent disability discharge in accordance with the procedures described in paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(8) of this section, if the documentation from the Department of Veterans Affairs does not indicate that the veteran is totally and permanently disabled as defined in § 674.51(aa)(2), but indicates that the veteran may be totally and permanently disabled as defined in § 674.51(aa)(1).
(d) No Federal reimbursement. No Federal reimbursement is made to an institution for discharge of loans due to death or disability.
(e) Retroactive. Discharge for death applies retroactively to all Defense, NDSL, and Perkins loans.
(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 1845-0019)
(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 425, 1070g, 1087dd; sec. 130(g)(2) of the Education Amendments of 1976, Pub. L. 94-482)
[52 FR 45758, Dec. 1, 1987, as amended at 53 FR 49147, Dec. 6, 1988. Redesignated and amended at 59 FR 61413, 61415, Nov. 30, 1994; 64 FR 58315, Oct. 28, 1999; 65 FR 65690, Nov. 1, 2000; 66 FR 44007, Aug. 21, 2001; 72 FR 61998, Nov. 1, 2007; 73 FR 35494, June 23, 2008; 73 FR 36793, June 30, 2008; 74 FR 55664, Oct. 28, 2009; 74 FR 55987, Oct. 29, 2009; 77 FR 66125, Nov. 1, 2012]

Title 34 published on 2013-07-01

The following are only the Rules published in the Federal Register after the published date of Title 34.

For a complete list of all Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices view the Rulemaking tab.

  • 2013-11-01; vol. 78 # 212 - Friday, November 1, 2013
    1. 78 FR 65768 - Student Assistance General Provisions, Federal Perkins Loan Program, Federal Family Education Loan Program, and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, Office of Postsecondary Education
      Final regulations.
      Effective date: These regulations are effective July 1, 2014. Implementation dates: For implementation dates, see the Implementation Date of These Regulations section of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section.
      34 CFR Parts 668, 674, 682, and 685

Title 34 published on 2013-07-01

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 34 CFR 674 after this date.

  • 2013-11-01; vol. 78 # 212 - Friday, November 1, 2013
    1. 78 FR 65768 - Student Assistance General Provisions, Federal Perkins Loan Program, Federal Family Education Loan Program, and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, Office of Postsecondary Education
      Final regulations.
      Effective date: These regulations are effective July 1, 2014. Implementation dates: For implementation dates, see the Implementation Date of These Regulations section of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section.
      34 CFR Parts 668, 674, 682, and 685