What is a Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) discharge?

A Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) discharge relieves you from having to repay a William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program Loan, a Federal Family Education Loan (FEEL) Program Loan, Federal Perkins Loan, or Campus-Based Loan(s). If you are totally and permanently disabled, you may be able to qualify for a Total and Permanent Disability discharge. 

To qualify for a TPD discharge, you must complete and submit a TPD discharge application, along with supplemental documentation showing that you meet requirements for being considered totally and permanently disabled, to Nelnet, the servicer that assists the U.S. Department of Education with the TPD discharge process.


You can show that you qualify for a TPD discharge by providing documentation from one of three sources: 

  1. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) - show that you have received a VA disability determination because you (1) have a service-connected disability that is 100 percent disabling; or (2) are totally disabled based on an individual unemployability rating 
  2. The Social Security Administration (SSA) - show that you’re eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income and provide a copy of your SSA notice of award or Benefits Planning Query showing that your next scheduled disability review will be five to seven years or more form the date of your last SSA disability determination 
  3. A physician - certify on the application that you are unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity due to a physical or mental impairment that 
      1. Can be expected to result in death
      2. Has lasted for a continuous period of at least 60 months; or
      3. Can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 60 months 

    If you still have questions or need additional assistance, please submit a ticket