Can’t Make Your Mortgage Payment? Here’s How to Request Relief 

A stressed young woman worries about financial documents and bills over her laptop computer
Photo by fizkes / Shutterstock.com

The coronavirus pandemic and the millions of jobs lost due to it are whipsawing American households.

Once you’ve put food on the table, the next most pressing question is, “How do I hang onto my home?”

If you’re in a tight spot right now, you may qualify for mortgage relief. Following is a look at newly available types of relief for homeowners struggling during the pandemic.

Contacting your mortgage servicer

Pursuing any type of mortgage relief likely will involve contacting your mortgage servicer — the bank or other company that sends your monthly mortgage statement. How and when you contact your servicer depends on the severity of your financial hardship:

  • If you can’t pay the mortgage this month: Call your mortgage servicer right away and let it know the situation. With many people in the same boat, getting help could take time. Also, NPR reports, some homeowners are having difficulty getting help. Be prepared for waits, confusion and bureaucracy.
  • If you can pay the mortgage now but worry you’ll hit trouble later: Don’t call yet. Check the servicer’s website for instructions because phone lines may be jammed with people needing immediate help. Also, check the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s guide to coronavirus mortgage relief options.

To contact your servicer, check your monthly mortgage statement for contact information and your mortgage policy number. Failing that, use the lookup tools that the CFPB lists on its website.

Relief options for federally backed mortgages

Congress recently passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, which includes provisions that help people with mortgages that are federally owned or otherwise backed by one of the following federal entities:

  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Federal Housing Administration
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Fannie Mae
  • Freddie Mac

The CFPB’s guide has consumer contacts for each entity.

Homeowners with federally owned or backed mortgages are offered two types of aid under the CARES Act:

  1. Foreclosure moratorium: A 60-day moratorium started on March 18. You can’t be evicted or charged a fee for a late payment during this time, USA.gov says. Also, mortgage lenders and servicers may not start foreclosing on you or finalize a foreclosure during the moratorium period, the CFPB says.
  2. Mortgage forbearance: Homeowners having trouble paying their mortgages because of financial hardship related to the coronavirus pandemic have the right to ask their mortgage servicers for a 180-day forbearance — meaning a temporarily lower payment amount or a pause on payments. Such homeowners also can request one forbearance extension of another 180 days.

As the CFPB explains the forbearance request option:

“There will be no additional fees, penalties or additional interest (beyond scheduled amounts) added to your account. You do not need to submit additional documentation to qualify other than your claim to have a pandemic-related financial hardship.”

The CFPB guide also explains what to expect with forbearance and how to request forbearance.

Relief options for other mortgages

If your mortgage isn’t backed by the federal government, potential sources of help include your mortgage servicer and your state government.

Contact your mortgage company to ask what relief it’s offering. Companies ranging from Bank of America to Ally have extended relief options to borrowers who are struggling during the pandemic.

As for help from state governments, check your state. Check back frequently for changes and new programs. Bankrate also has a list of state actions to help homeowners with mortgage trouble.

Refinancing is possibly another option

Another possibility may be to refinance your current mortgage. It could be worthwhile if you can lower your payments by getting a lower interest rate or extending the term (the lifetime) or your loan.

Stop by our Solutions Center to find the best mortgage rates.

How to find cheaper car insurance in minutes

Getting a better deal on car insurance doesn't have to be hard. You can have The Zebra, an insurance comparison site compare quotes in just a few minutes and find you the best rates. Consumers save an average of $368 per year, according to the site, so if you're ready to secure your new rate, get started now.

Read Next
7 Surprising Things That Damage Your Credit Score
7 Surprising Things That Damage Your Credit Score

A seemingly small stumble can cause your credit score to plummet.

Top 5 Activities That People Dream of Doing in Retirement
Top 5 Activities That People Dream of Doing in Retirement

No. 1 isn’t visiting grandkids, and No. 4 might surprise you.

5 Ways to Avoid Taxes on Social Security Income
5 Ways to Avoid Taxes on Social Security Income

Here’s how to minimize and delay the chunk that Uncle Sam claims.

5 States Where Drivers Pay the Most for Car Insurance
5 States Where Drivers Pay the Most for Car Insurance

Auto insurance will cost you more than three times as much in one state compared with another. Here’s how to lower your rates no matter where you live.

It’s Worth Paying Extra for These 14 Items
It’s Worth Paying Extra for These 14 Items

Here’s where to find the sweet spot at the intersection of price and quality.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
Will I Get My Ex-Husband’s Social Security When He Dies?
Will I Get My Ex-Husband’s Social Security When He Dies?

Two factors determine how much money is coming to you.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store
21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store

Dollar stores have great bargains on these familiar purchases.

5 Household Disinfectants That Can Destroy the Coronavirus
5 Household Disinfectants That Can Destroy the Coronavirus

You likely already have some of these products at home.

6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman
6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman

Beware: The self-proclaimed personal finance expert has a track record that suggests more sizzle than steak.

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You probably don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon
13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon

Every household should have these products on hand. Buying them in bulk on Amazon saves you cash.

America’s Most Reliable Appliance Brand Is a Surprise
America’s Most Reliable Appliance Brand Is a Surprise

Have you heard of this appliance manufacturer?

This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked
This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked

The Social Security Administration is not helping certain people get money to which they are entitled, a report says.

Getting These 2 Shots Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia
Getting These 2 Shots Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia

These vaccines may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 40%.

16 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
16 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline
9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline

Forget expensive specialty products. Good ol’ petroleum jelly can address many common annoyances.

8 Things That Are Free in August
8 Things That Are Free in August

As summer enters the home stretch, we’ve rounded up these sizzling freebies.

10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

19 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret
19 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret

Think twice before buying these things.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing food supply. Is your pantry prepared?

8 of the Worst Things to Buy at a Dollar Store
8 of the Worst Things to Buy at a Dollar Store

Not everything sold at dollar stores is a great bargain or a safe purchase. Here’s our list of products to avoid.

41 Things You Should Never Buy
41 Things You Should Never Buy

Some purchases are just plain dumb. Give yourself — and your budget — a break. Don’t spend money on this stuff.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.