Most people do not think warmly of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). However, according to a recent news article from The Los Angeles Times, the IRS could take action that will instantly help approximately 387,000 disabled Americans who owe a great deal in student loan debt. These financial burdens are greatly exacerbated by the fact they are unable to work full-time.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, (D-Mass.), has been urging the IRS to act by writing a strongly worded open letter to the tax-collecting agency. However, she argues that time to act may be up soon, since the GOP will control the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Oval Office, and they are less likely to help these people out. Political views aside, the action she is asking the agency to take would affect anyone who has been determined to be completely and permanently disabled and has an income lower than the federal poverty guideline for an individual, if unmarried, or a family of two if married. The federal poverty level for a family of two is around $16,000, and of the people who qualify, the vast majority of them (80 percent) have an income of zero. In fact, when they took a median net worth of these disabled Americans, the net worth came about be around $200, and many think that was actually too generous an estimate.
However, in addition to having no money, they have an average of $18,000 in student loans that are struggling to pay and are likely in default. There is a solution to this. According to federal law, anyone who is below the federal poverty level, insolvent, and disabled, is eligible to have their federal loans cancelled and fully forgiven. This means that the U.S. Department and Education and the IRS can simple wipe out their debt, and this would help roughly 400,000 disabled Americans.
One of the problems, according to the IRS and the Department of Education is that many disabled borrowers simply do not know to ask for their debt to be erased, but that does not satisfy Warren who say they have a responsibility to take an active role to tell the disabled poor about this program, so they can take advantage of it before the change in administration.
Regardless of whether we are talking about this particular program or another, there is no question that many disabled citizens are at a disadvantage, because they do not always have a full knowledge of the how the programs and services work. In some cases, such as with the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, both of which are administered by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA), the system is set up in such a way that the unrepresented claimant is at a serious disadvantage. For this reason, if you are disabled and applying for SSI or SSDI benefits, the best thing you can do is to speak with an experienced Boston disability lawyers as soon in the process as possible. The sooner you speak with an experienced disability lawyer, the better your chances will be for a full and appropriate award or benefits.
If you or a loved one is seeking Social Security Disability Insurance in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
The IRS could instantly help 387,000 disabled Americans. What’s it waiting for?, November 22, 2016, By Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times
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Social Security Disability Judges Allegedly Used Racial and Sexual Terms on Claimants’ Applications, July 22, 2016, Boston SSDI Lawyer Blog