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house Bill H.R. 3598

Should the Federal Student Loan Debt of Eligible Permanently Disabled Veterans be Automatically Forgiven?

Argument in favor

Permanently disabled veterans and veterans who are unable to work for other reasons are already eligible for federal student loan debt forgiveness. However, 80% of eligible veterans have yet to file the necessary paperwork to have their loans forgiven. By making federal student loan debt forgiveness for eligible veterans automatic, this bill would remove a significant barrier to their abilities to claim debt forgiveness.

jimK's Opinion
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03/10/2020
Absolutely forgive permanently disabled vet student loan debts. Their sacrifice exceeds the service requirements currently in place for student loan debt forgiveness. Screw the paper work argument! This is the Department of Education for God’s sake - educate yourselves and figure out how to do it. What a dumb-ass argument for voting Nay.
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eireprof's Opinion
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03/10/2020
I actually think we ought to forgive all student loan debt.
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burrkitty's Opinion
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03/10/2020
Forgive all student loan debt and then stop the federal student loans program entirely. No one should have to go through the misery I have had to go through.
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Argument opposed

The paperwork requirement for eligible permanently disabled veterans and veterans who can’t work for other reasons to claim federal student loan debt forgiveness is reasonable. Automatic forgiveness of this debt without any paperwork could compromise the Dept. of Education’s and VA’s ability to keep track of how many veterans claim this benefit, and in what dollar amounts.

Jeff's Opinion
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03/10/2020
I am a veteran and it should be a case by case basis. We don’t need hand outs. Just help depending on need.
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Brian's Opinion
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03/10/2020
As a permanently disabled veteran I say “No, because it should be forgiven for everybody. If we aren’t all free, none of us are free”
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Just.Dave's Opinion
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03/10/2020
Perhaps in some cases, but not all. There should be decisions made on an individual basis.
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What is House Bill H.R. 3598?

This bill — known as the FREED Vets Act — would require the Dept. of Education to automatically forgive federal student loan debt for eligible permanently disabled veterans. At present, veterans who are disabled or unable to work are already eligible for federal student loan debt forgiveness; but they must apply for debt forgiveness in order to access this benefit. This legislation would eliminate the paperwork barrier that may prevent eligible permanently disabled veterans from attaining student loan debt relief.

This bill’s full title is the Federally Required Earned Education-debt Discharges (FREED) for Vets Act.

Impact

Permanently disabled veterans; permanently disabled veterans with federal student loan debt; and forgiveness of federal student loan debt held by permanently disabled veterans.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 3598

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA) introduced this legislation to ensure that eligible permanently disabled veterans are able to access federal student loan debt forgiveness, which they’re already eligible for but may face a paperwork barrier in obtaining: 

“Congress has an obligation to ease the challenges our veterans face when they come home and return to civilian life. This important bipartisan legislation provides a clear pathway for eligible disabled veterans to receive a benefit they have earned through their service and sacrifice."

Original cosponsor Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) added:

“Our nation’s veterans have sacrificed immensely for our freedom and way of life. It is unacceptable that many disabled veterans continue to be saddled by high levels of student debt.”

Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI), who has introduced a companion Senate version of this legislation, adds:

“Veterans who have become disabled during their service to our nation should have their student loans forgiven without delay and without cumbersome red tape. Our bill will require the Department of Education to automatically discharge student loans for eligible individuals and help to ensure that no veteran falls through the cracks due to a clerical error.  I’m pleased with the support we’ve received from numerous veterans' organizations, and I urge my colleagues to support swift passage of this bill to provide this overdue assistance for the courageous servicemembers who have sacrificed so much for our nation.”

This legislation has 67 bipartisan House cosponsors, including 46 Democrats and 21 Republicans. Its Senate companion, sponsored by Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), has one cosponsor, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA).

Student Veterans of America, The Retired Enlisted Association, Veterans Education Success, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), U.S. Army Warrant Officers Association, High Ground Veterans Advocacy, 51 state attorneys general, and multiple tax law experts support this legislation.


Of Note: In October 2018, the Dept. of Education established a program with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) to identify veterans who are disabled or unable to work and give them the ability to have their student loan debt forgiven. Under this program, the Dept. of Education notifies veterans who are eligible for debt forgiveness of their eligibility, after which point each veteran is responsible for filing the necessary paperwork. To date, although the Dept. of Education has identified over 42,000 eligible veterans, only 20% of eligible veterans have applied for debt forgiveness.

On August 21, 2019, the White House announced an Executive Order discharging totally and permanently disabled veterans’ federal student loan debt. While Rep. Lamb praised the order when it was announced, he argued that this legislation is still needed to ensure this change is codified in federal law.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Pekic)

AKA

FREED Vets Act

Official Title

FREED Vets Act, as amended

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
    IntroducedJune 28th, 2019
    Absolutely forgive permanently disabled vet student loan debts. Their sacrifice exceeds the service requirements currently in place for student loan debt forgiveness. Screw the paper work argument! This is the Department of Education for God’s sake - educate yourselves and figure out how to do it. What a dumb-ass argument for voting Nay.
    Like (85)
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    I am a veteran and it should be a case by case basis. We don’t need hand outs. Just help depending on need.
    Like (34)
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    I actually think we ought to forgive all student loan debt.
    Like (44)
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    Forgive all student loan debt and then stop the federal student loans program entirely. No one should have to go through the misery I have had to go through.
    Like (34)
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    I do support this student loan forgiveness for not only disabled veterans but also for veterans who are unable to get decent jobs to keep up with the debt. These men & women deserve this break for their most honorable service to our country.
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    As a permanently disabled veteran I say “No, because it should be forgiven for everybody. If we aren’t all free, none of us are free”
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    Yes of course they fought and sacrificed for our country. They don’t need that extra stress.
    Like (22)
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    Yes, and hurry.
    Like (16)
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    Yes, eligible, permanently disabled veterans who have student loan debt, should automatically be granted loan forgiveness!
    Like (15)
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    Ummm YES!
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    Yes and the restrictions on work and further education should be removed. People can’t rely on social security in this fascist state
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    We must honor those who served.
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    This is a good idea but with one possible problem. The IRS says forgiven debt is income and taxable, so if it non taxable for veterans then by all means do it
    Like (9)
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    Go, Dane!
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    I have trouble understanding this as a question. My late husband came out of the Air Force with 100% service connected disability. If he had student loans debt, which he didn’t, I would expect the same country which he served and which took his body from him to also take his school debt. Many give some. Some give it all. I expect the US to give back.
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    Yes. Some veterans have been permanently adversely affected from their devoted service to our country. We owe our military an abundance of gratitude in protecting our country and then some. Shame on Democrats who would deplete and weaken our military. Student loans by the federal government on the whole offered to everyone in the country should have never been implemented and has become a huge financial burden to many with the government not working with individuals so they can reasonably pay back.
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    Try being permanently disabled for a week or so and then make your decision.
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    If they committed their life to their country, they’ve earned their country to commit to them.
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    Yes! 1000% yes
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    They have risked their lives for country and deserve everything we can get to them.
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