Under federal law, individuals with federal student loans can have their obligation discharged due to disability. There are three basic ways to get your federal student loans discharged because of your disability.
The Veterans Administration (VA) has determined that you are unemployable.
You have one or more medically determinable physical or mental impairments that
a. can be expected to result in death, or
b. have lasted for a continuous period of not less than 60 months, or
c. can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 60 months
You have been awarded Social Security Disability or SSI benefits and the Social Security Administration (SSA) has determined that medical improvement is not expected.
While the third paragraph above was implemented in the summer of 2013 to make this process smoother, it is not much help in most cases. But this is of a case of the government tying to look good without actually doing good. The vast majority of disability approvals by SSA result in reviews more frequently that every five years, which is the threshold established by the Department of Education to have your student loans eliminated using your Social Security disability decision.
The Department of Education still relies on disabled applicants to provide documentation of Social Security disability directly to the Department of Education. Can't these billion dollar government computer systems talk to each other? It doesn't seem to work that way. I would think with the government's general paranoia when it comes to handing out money - or in this case, eliminating a debt - that they would want the information directly from the source.
At the end of the day, the best way to get a student loan disability discharge approved is to have a treating physician who is willing to complete the Department of Education's physician statement form.