Homeowner relief program options offered by the government are limited. However, forbearance can help you get a handle on your finances by giving you the chance to postpone your mortgage payments. You can use the money you would normally pay toward your mortgage to help you pay for other essential expenses, like food, clothing, medical bills and credit card bills.
The standard period for forbearance is no longer than six months. In some cases, it lasts for as short a period as three months. If you need a longer forbearance period, you may be able to apply for an extension of the forbearance agreement. There is no guarantee you will get approved, but certain standards are established that can help you determine if you qualify.
The CARES mortgage relief program has been updated and adapted as the pandemic has progressed. It’s helpful to stay informed about CARES restrictions and qualification dates if you wish to apply for forbearance.
In some cases, you may be able to request a second extension of the same length. Certain loans provided through Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae offer longer extensions. However, those extensions are capped at 18 months.
Forbearance mortgage relief qualification is not guaranteed. Your lender must examine your individual situation to see if you qualify.
The following stipulations apply to forbearance applications, regardless of the lenders involved:
- You must prove financial hardship.
- That hardship must be related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The lender has the option to approve or deny forbearance for various reasons.
- The lender is not obligated to allow a second extension if a first is allowed.
There are three scenarios that may require you to look for alternatives to the CARES Congress mortgage relief program. For example:
- You may not qualify for it in the first place.
- You may not qualify for an extension after your initial forbearance period expires.
- You may exhaust all the extensions for which you qualify.
If you find yourself in any of the situations outlined above, consider speaking to your mortgage lender. The lender may be able to help you determine your best course of action.
Keep in mind that forbearance does not stop the foreclosure process; it merely postpones it and gives you time to potentially better your situation. In some instances, it may be necessary to explore other options if your mortgage company does not wish to extend the forbearance period any further.