Can Someone with Asperger’s Be Forgiven Debt Due to Their Disease?


According to an article in The National Law Journal published on May 21, 2012, Asperger Syndrome prompts court to forgive former law student’s debt, a United States Bankruptcy Court in Maryland dismissed over $335,000 of Carol Todd’s student loan debt due to her Asperger Syndrome.  Under federal bankruptcy law, student loans must be paid unless the debtor’s circumstances meet the rigorous “undue burden” standard.

In this case, the judge found that Ms. Todd, age 63, who attended law school in 1992, but did not finish, obtained a master’s degree from Towson University and a Ph.D. from an unaccredited online school in 2007, could not expect to overcome the demands of her disorder and discharged the debt.

Student loans are rarely discharged in bankruptcy, albeit this is a very unusual case.  It may be that in the future we may see that student loan applications contain questions about mental health illness, limiting the ability of a student with a past history of illness to receive educational loans.