On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that will free tens of thousands of wounded veterans from their student loan debt. Additionally, the memorandum also ensures that eligible veterans are not required to pay federal income taxes on the loans. He signed the order during his address at the American Veterans (AMVETS) National Conference.
The presidential memorandum that was signed by Trump forgives all federal student loan debt held by permanently disabled military veterans.
“The debt of these disabled veterans will be completely erased,” said Trump during the address, according to a report by Fox News. “That’s hundreds of millions of dollars of student loans debt for our disabled veterans that will be completely erased.”
In the memo, the government was also directed to create an “expedited” process that would allow eligible veterans to complete the necessary steps “with minimal burdens.”
The existing student loan forgiveness program – called the Total and Permanent Disability Discharge (TPD) – allows those with a VA service-connected disability to have their debts forgiven.
However, as of July, only around 20 percent of those who are eligible have used the program, partially due to the complexity of the application process. At times, other factors also come into play.
Trump wrote about the memo in a tweet.
“It was my honor to sign a Presidential Memorandum facilitating the cancellation of student loan debt for 25K of our most severely disabled Veterans,” he wrote.
“With today’s order, we express the everlasting love & loyalty of a truly grateful Nation. God bless our Vets, & God Bless America!”
It was my honor to sign a Presidential Memorandum facilitating the cancellation of student loan debt for 25K of our most severely disabled Veterans. With today’s order, we express the everlasting love & loyalty of a truly grateful Nation. God bless our Vets, & God Bless America! pic.twitter.com/MMMsX3RDQM
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2019
The executive order has come at a time where student loan debt has become a hot-button political issue, often being discussed by 2020 Democratic presidential primary candidates. Both Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren have floated plans that would eliminate student loan debt for all or nearly all who deal with the financial burden.
In total, American owe approximately $1.6 trillion on student loans.