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e-CFR data is current as of September 29, 2020

Title 34Subtitle BChapter VIPart 685Subpart B → §685.218


Title 34: Education
PART 685—WILLIAM D. FORD FEDERAL DIRECT LOAN PROGRAM
Subpart B—Borrower Provisions


§685.218   Discharge of student loan indebtedness for survivors of victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks.

(a) Definition of terms. As used in this section—

(1) Eligible public servant means an individual who—

(i) Served as a police officer, firefighter, other safety or rescue personnel, or as a member of the Armed Forces; and

(ii)(A) Died due to injuries suffered in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001; or

(B) Became permanently and totally disabled due to injuries suffered in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

(2) Eligible victim means an individual who died due to injuries suffered in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 or became permanently and totally disabled due to injuries suffered in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

(3) Eligible parent means the parent of an eligible victim if—

(i) The parent owes a Direct PLUS Loan incurred on behalf of an eligible victim; or

(ii) The parent owes a Direct Consolidation Loan that was used to repay a Direct PLUS Loan or a FFEL PLUS Loan incurred on behalf of an eligible victim.

(4) Died due to injuries suffered in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 means the individual was present at the World Trade Center in New York City, New York, at the Pentagon in Virginia, or at the Shanksville, Pennsylvania site at the time of or in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes on September 11, 2001, and the individual died as a direct result of these crashes.

(5) Became permanently and totally disabled due to injuries suffered in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 means the individual was present at the World Trade Center in New York City, New York, at the Pentagon in Virginia, or at the Shanksville, Pennsylvania site at the time of or in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes on September 11, 2001 and the individual became permanently and totally disabled as a direct result of these crashes.

(i) An individual is considered permanently and totally disabled if—

(A) The disability is the result of a physical injury to the individual that was treated by a medical professional within 72 hours of the injury having been sustained or within 72 hours of the rescue;

(B) The physical injury that caused the disability is verified by contemporaneous medical records created by or at the direction of the medical professional who provided the medical care; and

(C) The individual is unable to work and earn money due to the disability and the disability is expected to continue indefinitely or result in death.

(ii) If the injuries suffered due to the terrorist-related aircraft crashes did not make the individual permanently and totally disabled at the time of or in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, the individual may be considered to be permanently and totally disabled for purposes of this section if the individual's medical condition has deteriorated to the extent that the individual is permanently and totally disabled.

(6) Immediate aftermath means, except in the case of an eligible public servant, the period of time from the aircraft crashes until 12 hours after the crashes. With respect to eligible public servants, the immediate aftermath includes the period of time from the aircraft crashes until 96 hours after the crashes.

(7) Present at the World Trade Center in New York City, New York, at the Pentagon in Virginia, or at the Shanksville, Pennsylvania site means physically present at the time of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes or in the immediate aftermath—

(i) In the buildings or portions of the buildings that were destroyed as a result of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes;

(ii) In any area contiguous to the crash site that was sufficiently close to the site that there was a demonstrable risk of physical harm resulting from the impact of the aircraft or any subsequent fire, explosions, or building collapses. Generally, this includes the immediate area in which the impact occurred, fire occurred, portions of buildings fell, or debris fell upon and injured persons; or

(iii) On board American Airlines flights 11 or 77 or United Airlines flights 93 or 175 on September 11, 2001.

(b) September 11 survivors discharge. (1) The Secretary discharges the obligation of a borrower and any endorser to make any further payments on an eligible Direct Loan if the borrower was, at the time of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and currently is, the spouse of an eligible public servant, unless the eligible public servant has died. If the eligible public servant has died, the borrower must have been the spouse of the eligible public servant at the time of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and until the date the eligible public servant died.

(2) The Secretary discharges the obligation of a borrower and any endorser to make any further payments towards the portion of a joint Direct Consolidation Loan incurred on behalf of an eligible victim if the borrower was, at the time of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and currently is, the spouse of an eligible victim, unless the eligible victim has died. If the eligible victim has died, the borrower must have been the spouse of the eligible victim at the time of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and until the date the eligible victim died.

(3) If the borrower is an eligible parent—

(i) The Secretary discharges the obligation of a borrower and any endorser to make any further payments on a Direct PLUS Loan incurred on behalf of an eligible victim.

(ii) The Secretary discharges the obligation of the borrower and any endorser to make any further payments towards the portion of a Direct Consolidation Loan that repaid a PLUS Loan incurred on behalf of an eligible victim.

(4) The parent of an eligible public servant may qualify for a discharge of a Direct PLUS loan incurred on behalf of the eligible public servant, or the portion of a Direct Consolidation Loan that repaid a Direct or FFEL PLUS Loan incurred on behalf of the eligible public servant, under the procedures, eligibility criteria, and documentation requirements described in this section for an eligible parent applying for a discharge of a loan incurred on behalf of an eligible victim.

(c) Applying for discharge. (1) In accordance with the procedures in paragraphs (c)(2) through (c)(4) of this section, the Secretary discharges—

(i) A Direct Loan owed by the spouse of an eligible public servant;

(ii) A Direct PLUS Loan incurred on behalf of an eligible victim;

(iii) The portion of a Direct Consolidation Loan that repaid a PLUS loan incurred on behalf of an eligible victim; and

(iv) The portion of a joint Direct Consolidation Loan incurred on behalf of an eligible victim.

(2) After being notified by the borrower that the borrower claims to qualify for a discharge under this section, the Secretary suspends collection activity on the borrower's eligible Direct Loans and requests that the borrower submit a request for discharge on a form approved by the Secretary.

(3) If the Secretary determines that the borrower does not qualify for a discharge under this section, or the Secretary does not receive the completed discharge request form from the borrower within 60 days of the borrower notifying the Secretary that the borrower claims to qualify for a discharge, the Secretary resumes collection and grants forbearance of payment of both principal and interest for the period in which collection activity was suspended. The Secretary notifies the borrower that the application for the discharge has been denied, provides the basis for the denial, and informs the borrower that the Secretary will resume collection on the loan. The Secretary may capitalize any interest accrued and not paid during this period.

(4) If the Secretary determines that the borrower qualifies for a discharge under this section, the Secretary notifies the borrower that the loan has been discharged or, in the case of a partial discharge of a Direct Consolidation Loan, partially discharged. Except in the case of a partial discharge of a Direct Consolidation Loan, the Secretary returns to the sender any payments received by the Secretary after the date the loan was discharged.

(5) The Secretary discharges a Direct Loan owed by an eligible victim or an eligible public servant under the procedures in §685.212 for a discharge based on death or under the procedures in §685.213 for a discharge based on a total and permanent disability.

(d) Documentation that an eligible public servant or eligible victim died due to injuries suffered in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. (1) Documentation that an eligible public servant died due to injuries suffered in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 must include—

(i) A certification from an authorized official that the individual was a member of the Armed Forces, or was employed as a police officer, firefighter, or other safety or rescue personnel, and was present at the World Trade Center in New York City, New York, at the Pentagon in Virginia, or at the Shanksville, Pennsylvania site at the time of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes or in the immediate aftermath of these crashes; and

(ii) The inclusion of the individual on an official list of the individuals who died in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

(2) If the individual is not included on an official list of the individuals who died in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the borrower must provide—

(i) The certification described in paragraph (d)(1)(i) of this section;

(ii) An original or certified copy of the individual's death certificate; and

(iii) A certification from a physician or a medical examiner that the individual died due to injuries suffered in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

(3) If the individual owed a Direct Loan, a FFEL Program Loan, or a Perkins Loan at the time of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, documentation that the individual's loans were discharged by the Secretary, the lender, or the institution due to death may be substituted for the original or certified copy of a death certificate.

(4) Documentation that an eligible victim died due to injuries suffered in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 is the inclusion of the individual on an official list of the individuals who died in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

(5) If the eligible victim is not included on an official list of the individuals who died in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the borrower must provide—

(i) The documentation described in paragraphs (d)(2)(ii) or (d)(3), and (d)(2)(iii) of this section; and

(ii) A certification signed by the borrower that the eligible victim was present at the World Trade Center in New York City, New York, at the Pentagon in Virginia, or at the Shanksville, Pennsylvania site at the time of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes or in the immediate aftermath of these crashes.

(6) If the borrower is the spouse of an eligible public servant, and has been granted a discharge on another Direct Loan, a FFEL Program Loan, or a Perkins Loan because the eligible public servant died due to injuries suffered in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, documentation of the discharge may be used as an alternative to the documentation in paragraphs (d)(1) through (d)(3) of this section.

(7) If the borrower is the spouse or parent of an eligible victim, and has been granted a discharge on another Direct Loan or a FFEL Program Loan because the eligible victim died due to injuries suffered in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, documentation of the discharge may be used as an alternative to the documentation in paragraphs (d)(4) and (d)(5) of this section.

(8) The Secretary may discharge the loan based on other reliable documentation that establishes, to the Secretary's satisfaction, that the eligible public servant or the eligible victim died due to injuries suffered in the September 11, 2001 attacks. The Secretary discharges a loan based on documentation other than the documentation specified in paragraphs (d)(1) through (d)(5) of this section only under exceptional circumstances and on a case-by-case basis.

(e) Documentation that an eligible public servant or eligible victim became permanently and totally disabled due to injuries suffered in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. (1) Documentation that an eligible public servant became permanently and totally disabled due to injuries suffered in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 must include—

(i) A certification from an authorized official that the individual was a member of the Armed Forces or was employed as a police officer, firefighter or other safety or rescue personnel, and was present at the World Trade Center in New York City, New York, at the Pentagon in Virginia, or at the Shanksville, Pennsylvania site at the time of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes or in the immediate aftermath of these crashes;

(ii) Copies of contemporaneous medical records created by or at the direction of a medical professional who provided medical care to the individual within 72 hours of the injury having been sustained or within 72 hours of the rescue; and

(iii) A certification by a physician, who is a doctor of medicine or osteopathy and legally authorized to practice in a state, that the individual became permanently and totally disabled due to injuries suffered in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

(2) Documentation that an eligible victim became permanently and totally disabled due to injuries suffered in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 must include—

(i) The documentation described in paragraphs (e)(1)(ii) and (e)(1)(iii) of this section; and

(ii) A certification signed by the borrower that the eligible victim was present at the World Trade Center in New York City, New York, at the Pentagon in Virginia, or at the Shanksville, Pennsylvania site at the time of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes or in the immediate aftermath of these crashes.

(3) If the borrower is the spouse of an eligible public servant, and has been granted a discharge on a Perkins Loan, a FFEL Program loan, or another Direct Loan because the eligible public servant became permanently and totally disabled due to injuries suffered in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, documentation of the discharge may be used as an alternative to the documentation in paragraph (e)(1) of this section.

(4) If the borrower is the spouse or parent of an eligible victim, and has been granted a discharge on a FFEL Program Loan, or another Direct Loan because the eligible victim became permanently and totally disabled due to injuries suffered in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, documentation of the discharge may be used as an alternative to the documentation in paragraph (e)(2) of this section.

(f) Additional information. (1) The Secretary may require the borrower to submit additional information that the Secretary deems necessary to determine the borrower's eligibility for a discharge under this section.

(2) To establish that the eligible public servant or eligible victim was present at the World Trade Center in New York City, New York, at the Pentagon in Virginia, or at the Shanksville, Pennsylvania site, such additional information may include but is not limited to—

(i) Records of employment;

(ii) Contemporaneous records of a federal, state, city, or local government agency;

(iii) An affidavit or declaration of the eligible public servant's or eligible victim's employer; or

(iv) A sworn statement (or an unsworn statement complying with 28 U.S.C. 1746) regarding the presence of the eligible public servant or eligible victim at the site.

(3) To establish that the disability of the eligible public servant or eligible victim is due to injuries suffered in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, such additional information may include but is not limited to—

(i) Contemporaneous medical records of hospitals, clinics, physicians, or other licensed medical personnel;

(ii) Registries maintained by federal, state, or local governments; or

(iii) Records of all continuing medical treatment.

(4) To establish the borrower's relationship to the eligible public servant or eligible victim, such additional information may include but is not limited to—

(i) Copies of relevant legal records including court orders, letters of testamentary or similar documentation;

(ii) Copies of wills, trusts, or other testamentary documents; or

(iii) Copies of approved joint Direct Loan or FFEL Consolidation Loan applications or an approved Direct or FFEL PLUS Loan application.

(g) Limitations on discharge. (1) Only outstanding Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Direct PLUS Loans and Direct Consolidation Loans for which amounts were owed on September 11, 2001, or outstanding Direct Consolidation Loans incurred to pay off loan amounts that were owed on September 11, 2001, are eligible for discharge under this section.

(2)(i) Eligibility for a discharge under this section does not qualify a borrower for a refund of any payments made on the borrower's Direct Loan prior to the date the loan was discharged.

(ii) A borrower may apply for a partial discharge of a joint Direct Consolidation loan due to death or total and permanent disability under the procedures in §685.212(a) or §685.213. If the borrower is granted a partial discharge under the procedures in §685.212(a) or §685.213 the borrower may qualify for a refund of payments in accordance with §685.212(g)(1) or §685.212(g)(2).

(iii) A borrower may apply for a discharge of a Direct PLUS loan due to the death of the student for whom the borrower received the PLUS loan under the procedures in §685.212(a). If a borrower is granted a discharge under the procedures in §685.212(a), the borrower may qualify for a refund of payments in accordance with §685.212(g)(1).

(3) A determination that an eligible public servant or an eligible victim became permanently and totally disabled due to injuries suffered in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 for purposes of this section does not qualify the eligible public servant or the eligible victim for a discharge based on a total and permanent disability under §685.213.

(4) The spouse of an eligible public servant or eligible victim may not receive a discharge under this section if the eligible public servant or eligible victim has been identified as a participant or conspirator in the terrorist-related aircraft crashes on September 11, 2001. An eligible parent may not receive a discharge on a Direct PLUS Loan or on a Direct Consolidation Loan that was used to repay a Direct Loan or FFEL Program PLUS Loan incurred on behalf of an individual who has been identified as a participant or conspirator in the terrorist-related aircraft crashes on September 11, 2001.

[71 FR 78083, Dec. 28, 2006, as amended at 72 FR 55054, Sept. 28, 2007; 78 FR 65836, Nov. 1, 2013]

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