Follow this woman on Facebook, look for opportunities to interface with her to ask her how you might find additional information about the status and nature of your loans, and what might be possible: https://www.facebook.com/studentloanexpert?fref=ts
She has a lot of good and appropriate links for you to pursue.
SSD has a program called "Ticket to Work." You can explore what those opportunities are, and see how you can experiment with returning to work, without becoming disqualified for benefits. Use the ssa.gov search engine using that term, as well as "Redbook." It is called that because the book that they used to publish was red. Now it is online.
The Ticket to Work program also works in conjunction with the various states' departments of labor, and host employment related assistance at what used to be called unemployment centers. Now, they are more focused on help. You would want a referral to appropriate assistance. For this, it is likely a social service agency that works with SSA that can help.
You are in a position to ask SSA which social service agencies can be of assistance to you. You may not get a great deal of good financial advice, maybe, but you can obtain practical assistance. I understand how such folks may not have been able to properly advise you when you were aging out of the social service system, but I think they can offer practical help that you can easily judge in terms of quality and sincerity. You'll know if you are getting some kind of run around.
I applaud you for attempting to stay current on your loans. You want to continue to explore ways to reduce current outlays, so that at some point, you will not need repay the full amount of what was likely an error in those who were providing you with advice all those years ago. I believe you should have been able to continue on with school without having to lay out all of that debt, and I do not believe that you would have been so directed today - but I know for a fact that depending on the school, etc, there is no doubt that stuff like that was going on (folks here labeled it as a scam). This is why the US DOE had to work so hard to put the for profit schools out of business where they were making money off of the guaranteed loans without ever providing the educational services.
I am happy that you got to meet some kind folks here, and I'm glad that the moderators have stepped in. If folks have the urge to feel important by giving you silly advice, maybe they should take a vacation from the forums for a few days to rest up.