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   Managing in Tough Times
 more...>Personal Finance>Managing in Tough Times>

Help For Homeowners Who Have Become Unemployed

A new program is available through mortgage servicers participating in the national Making Home Affordable Program that can provide help for unemployed homeowners. Homeowners who are unemployed will be able to temporarily reduce or suspend their mortgage payments while they seek employment. During the payment suspension, the mortgage servicer can temporarily suspend payments in full or reduce payments to no more than 31 percent of the homeowner’s gross monthly income, even if that income is solely from unemployment. There is no cost to apply for this program.

Here are some of the criteria homeowners must meet to qualify for this new program:

            The house must be your primary residence.

            You are not more than 3 months behind in your payments.

            You are unemployed and can document that you are receiving unemployment benefits.

            The first mortgage was originated on or before 1/1/09.

            The unpaid mortgage balance must be equal to or less than $729,750 for a one-unit property.

            The homeowner was ineligible for a Home Affordable Modification.

Mortgage servicers may not initiate foreclosure proceedings or conduct a foreclosure sale while a homeowner is being evaluated for this unemployment program. Contact your mortgage servicer to determine if you qualify for the unemployment program. If you need assistance in order to apply for this program, call 888-995-HOPE (4673) to speak to a HUD-approved housing counselor for free.

Be aware that some unscrupulous mortgage servicers may try to scare you into sending them a payment by telling you they are giving your account to collections immediately, that you will incur late fees or fines, that you will lose your house to foreclosure or ruin your credit, or that you should sell something, use your savings, or contact relatives or friends to bail you out, etc. If this mortgage servicer heavy-handedness happens to you, get the individual’s name and number, then call a HUD-approved counselor at 888-995-HOPE (4673) to get help working with your mortgage company.

There is also a new 2nd Lien Modification Program available to lower payments on a homeowner’s second mortgage.

For more specific information and eligibility criteria for these two new mortgage modification programs for unemployed homeowners, go online to www.makinghomeaffordable.gov and click on “Help for Unemployed Homeowners.”

Reference: www.makinghomeaffordable.gov

Last Updated: 7/21/2011 3:40:07 PM
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