Langevin Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Discharge Student Loans of Parents of Disabled

WASHINGTON Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) today introduced Domenic and Ed’s Law, bipartisan, bicameral legislation to extend disability student loan forgiveness for parents who borrow funds on behalf of their children. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) is introducing companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.

Under current law, student borrowers who sustain an injury or suffer an illness resulting in total and permanent disability (TPD) are discharged from having to repay most federal student loans. However, parents who borrow funds on their child’s behalf only receive loan forgiveness in the event of their child’s death. Langevin and Portman’s legislation fixes this inequity in federal law by providing the same disability forgiveness protections to families with Parent PLUS Loans.

“If tragedy strikes and a student becomes permanently disabled, the government will rightly forgive the student’s federal loan debt. However, a loophole exists in current law that leaves parents saddled with the debt if the loan is in their name,” said Congressman Langevin. “This bill will fix this inequity and help families recover without the weight of unfair student loan debt.”

“Families like the Carducci family of Steubenville, Ohio, whose son Domenic has become permanently and totally disabled are going through unimaginable grief,” said Senator Portman. “Because of this tragic disability, they cannot afford a massive student loan bill. The last thing that families in these situations need is that kind of financial burden. I remain committed to addressing this legislative issue fully and urge my colleagues to support providing relief to families enduring such difficult circumstances.”

The legislation is named Domenic and Ed’s Law in recognition of two disabled individuals whose parents are still burdened with their student loan debt. Domenic Carducci is a constituent of Senator Portman. Ed Desorcy is a constituent in Langevin’s district who suffers from Lebers Hereditary Optic Neuropathy and lost his vision while attending college. While Desorcy’s loans were discharged following his disability, the loans taken out by his parents on his behalf were not.

“When I reached out to Congressman Langevin to explain my situation, he promised to take action on my behalf,” said Ed Desorcy. “I thank Congressman Langevin for leading this legislation that will help my family and others like mine across the country who are facing similar circumstances.”

In 2006, Congress discharged all Parent PLUS Loans taken out on behalf of students who were disabled in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Domenic and Ed’s Law expands this provision to cover all circumstances that result in a child sustaining TPD.

There are over 44 million student loan borrowers in the United States who collectively owe $1.5 trillion in debt. The average Parent PLUS Loan in 2016-17 was $15,880, about 2.4 times the average undergraduate federal student loan.  

Text of the bill.