The Department of Veterans Affairs is offering two new programs for veterans experiencing financial hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The programs are designed to help VA-guaranteed home loan holders bring their mortgages current and resume making regular payments to avoid foreclosure.
While these new programs will be offered only as a last resort and under limited circumstances, the VA has several other options to help keep veterans from losing their homes to foreclosure if you don’t qualify for these new, limited time, programs.
Check with the VA or your lender for more details.
Both of the new programs come with requirements and limitations:
- You must currently live in the property,
- You must have been up to date, or less than 30 days overdue, on any mortgage payments as of March 1, 2020.
- You must have missed at least one payment after that date.
- You must have entered into a forbearance agreement with the lender. Basically, a forbearance is a modification of the original loan terms, or a suspension of payments, because of hardship.
- You must have recovered from any COVID-related financial hardship.
- You cannot be delinquent on more than 30% of the property’s appraised value
There is limited time to apply for the programs, so if you are close to having problems making mortgage payments, you should contact your lender or the VA as soon as possible. The two new programs include:
The VA Partial Claim Payment Program
The VA Partial Claim Payment Program is a temporary program that begins on July 27, 2021, and runs through Oct. 28, 2022.
Under this program, the VA will make any overdue mortgage payments to the lender and then create a second mortgage on the property. The second mortgage is interest free, and no payments are due until the veteran sells the home or pays off the original mortgage. At that time, the borrower must repay the VA any money received under this program before they own the house free and clear.
The borrower can pay the money back early with no penalty, and they are relieved of having any overdue payments affecting their credit or continuing to accrue interest or penalties.
The COVID-19 Refund Modification Program
The COVID-19 Refund Modification can give borrowers up to a 20% reduction in their monthly mortgage payments.
Like the Partial Claim Payment Program discussed above, the VA makes any overdue payments to the lender and creates a second mortgage on the property.
However, under this program, the lender is encouraged to modify the existing mortgage to make it easier for the veteran to resume making payments.
The lender can modify the original mortgage by adding up to 10 years to the repayment schedule; that means a 30-year mortgage can become a 40-year mortgage.
By adding this additional time to the mortgage and reducing the loan principal by taking into consideration any payments already made by the borrower — plus any overdue payments that are made by the VA under this program — a borrower can see a large reduction in their monthly payments.
Contact your lender or a VA loan technician at 877-827-3702 for more details.