Sasha Chavkin


Sasha Chavkin was an intern at ProPublica. He has previously written for Mother Jones, the Nation, and Grist.

The Education Department Will Forgive $5.8 Billion in Student Loans for Disabled Borrowers

A troubled Education Department program left many disabled borrowers unable to escape crushing debt. A decade after ProPublica exposed the issue, the US has taken a major step to address the program’s defects.

Education Department Adopts Crucial Reform for Disabled Borrowers

After our investigation and public pressure, the department has conducted a sweeping overhaul of its troubled disability review program.

Education Department Revamps Broken Disability Review Program

Despite the changes to its student loan program to help borrowers who've become disabled, the government declined to include a key reform.

Education Department Backs Away From Fix to Help Disabled Student Borrowers

The Education Department had promised to fundamentally overhaul its broken system for forgiving the loans of former students who've become disabled. Now the department says it can't and won't do it, leaving many disabled applicants stuck in debt.

Chief Offshore Drilling Regulator Criticizes Lack of Oversight for Contractors

The top U.S. regulator of offshore oil drilling said it made no sense that his agency is not conducting direct oversight of contractors who work on offshore oil rigs.

Experts: Emergency Preparedness Cuts in Budget Deal Threaten U.S. Security

The budget deal being finalized by Congress includes significant cuts to federal grants for emergency first responders. Experts say the reductions could place the U.S. at risk during a major disaster.

House Calls for Drastic Cuts in Hospital Preparedness Funding

The House of Representatives passed a budget measure that would cut the federal Hospital Preparedness Program by $185 million, a 44 percent reduction from last year’s budget.

U.S. Nuclear-Disaster Preparedness Hobbled by Uncertain Chain of Command

Emergency plans call for local officials to take charge first in a radiological disaster. How and when the federal government would step in isn't so clear.

Education Dept. Pledges to Overhaul Dysfunctional Disability Review Program

After a ProPublica investigation, the Education Department has promised to overhaul its broken system for forgiving the federal student loans of disabled borrowers.

The Reform for Disabled Borrowers That the Education Dept. Refuses to Adopt

The Education Department has resisted a basic reform to its troubled disability review that its own ombudsman has recommended since 2008 -- shut the program down entirely and rely on Social Security to decide who is eligible.

Education Department Bureaucracy Keeps Disabled Borrowers in Debt

Borrowers who become severely disabled are entitled to get federal student loans forgiven. But the program for deciding whether they qualify is opaque, dysfunctional, and according to government reports, redundant.

Gulf Claims Chief Announces Payment Plan That Assumes Quick Recovery

Gulf spill paymaster Kenneth Feinberg today released a draft of his long-awaited methodology for deciding payments on final claims for damages from the BP oil spill – and has endorsed an optimistic prediction of how quickly the region’s economy will recover that is likely to spark controversy among claimants.

Gulf Claims Czar Makes Mixed Progress on Transparency Pledges

Gulf spill paymaster Kenneth Feinberg has made mixed progress in carrying out his transparency promises.

Where Things Stand: Gulf Oil Spill Claims

One of the central pieces of BP's program to make amends after the Gulf oil spill disaster was a claims system to compensate individuals and businesses that lost money. Although nearly $3 billion has been paid out, there have been chronic delays that have caused frustration and serious economic hardship to claimants.

Executive Order Suspending Fracking Brings Little Change

Gov. David Paterson recently issued an executive order suspending the approval of certain types of gas drilling permits. But his action did little to change the status quo, because the DEC had already stopped issuing such permits.

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