The Department of Education and Department of Veterans Affairs are teaming up to help disabled veterans get their student loan debt dismissed.

The two agencies announced a data sharing agreement this week, in which they will cross-check the VA’s records of veterans with a total and permanent service-connected disability against the Education Department’s database of student loan borrowers. When there’s a match, the Education Department will mail the veteran an application for Total and Permanent Disability Discharge, or TPD, which applies to federal student loans.

Previously, veterans who believed they qualified for TPD would have had to reach out the Education Department themselves. The change to a more proactive approach is a way of “taking care of our veterans” — a priority of this administration, said Liz Hill, a department spokeswoman.

The departments will share records every quarter, and they expect to contact tens of thousands of veterans in this quarter alone, she said.

“The hard work put into this important initiative by two large federal agencies for our veterans and their families is impressive in scope and further underscores VA’s values,” acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a news release.

Natalie Gross has been reporting for Military Times since 2017. She grew up in a military family and has a master's degree in journalism from Georgetown University.

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