President Donald Trump signed a memorandum on Wednesday to automatically cancel the student debt of tens of thousands of disabled veterans.
"Today I'm proud to announce that I am taking executive action to ensure that our wounded warriors are not saddled with mountains of student debt," Trump said in a speech at the AMVETS National Convention in Kentucky. "Nobody can complain about that, right?"
More than 25,000 disabled veterans will have their student debt forgiven, Trump said. The average balance that will be erased is around $30,000. The president said veterans will not be required to pay federal taxes on their forgiven debt.
Disabled service members are already entitled to student debt forgiveness under the U.S. Education Department's total and permanent disability discharge option.
However, recent records revealed the government continues to seek repayment on $1 billion in student loans from more than 40,000 severely disabled veterans who have been deemed unable to work. More than 25,000 of them are in default and just 8,500 of them have applied for forgiveness.
Earlier this year, the Education Department attempted to make it easier for disabled veterans to apply for debt forgiveness by sending them notifications of their eligibility.
Now Trump's action will automatically erase the debt of these veterans, a move advocates have long pushed for. They've said it's challenging for many disabled veterans, some of whom are paralyzed or have traumatic brain injuries, to go through the burdensome process of applying for relief.
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