Mortgage Stimulus Programs Faq
Is there really a mortgage refinance relief program?
Two mortgage relief programs HIRO and FMERR have been put on hold because homeowners currently have so much equity that theres little need for relief refinancing. However, if you do need mortgage assistance, you still have options. Some Congress mortgage stimulus programs enacted during Covid, such as forbearance, are still available. And homeowners with FHA, VA, or USDA loans can often refinance a high-LTV loan using Streamline Refi programs backed by the federal government.
Is there a government mortgage relief program?
The CARES Act and subsequent American Rescue Plan have provided mortgage relief during the Covid-19 pandemic. These programs do not refinance your mortgage but let you postpone repayment while keeping your loan active. The CARES Act also created a temporary moratorium on foreclosures and renter evictions.
Does Biden have a mortgage stimulus program?
Biden has proposed several stimulus programs to help with homeownership costs. In terms of mortgage relief, he recently enacted a measure to provide mortgage assistance to homeowners with federally backed FHA, VA, and USDA loans. Under this program, qualified borrowers can modify their mortgages to get a lower interest rate and potentially reduce their loan payments by up to 25 percent. Contact your mortgage servicer to learn whether youre eligible for a loan modification.
Is the Freddie Mac Enhanced Relief program legit?
A Free Service From The National Council On Aging
BenefitsCheckUp is safe to use because its a free service from the National Council on Aging , a leading nonprofit service and advocacy organization.
Since 1950, the NCOA has been working to improve the lives of Americans aged 60+, especially those who are struggling.
They provide community programs and services, online help, and advocacy.
NCOA also builds public awareness, influences federal legislation, and creates national programs to make life better for older adults.
Hearing Aid Help For Seniors
According to a 2016 study in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, hearing loss affects more than 60 percent of adults over age 70, yet only 20 percent of adults who need hearing aids actually use them. Price is the most common roadblock: The devices can cost thousands of dollars each, and most seniors need two of them. But there are ways to get help with those costs.
While original Medicare does not cover hearing aids or the exams required to fit them, some Medicare Advantage plans do, so talk to your insurance provider. In some states, Medicaid will also pay for hearing aids.
Lions Clubs across the U.S. offer the Affordable Hearing Aid Project, which helps seniors with limited incomes access hearing aids that they would otherwise be unable to afford. The program also arranges for the fitting and follow-up care. Each club has its own income guidelines for determining who qualifies, so check around.
The National Hearing Aid Project supplies hearing aids to low-income U.S. residents who lack insurance coverage for the devices. Qualified individuals receive a hearing assessment, a fitting, and a follow-up. Those who receive hearing aids through the program are asked to share their story on a personal fundraising page in order to encourage others to donate to the program.
Another option is to contact hearing aid manufacturers to ask about participating in a clinical trial. Trial participants generally get to keep the products they test.
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Where Can I Find Government Aid Programs For Seniors
This guide does not cover each and every program available. To explore options not listed here, contact your local senator. Each senator has staff to advise you on smaller programs specific to your community. Your congressional representatives also have staff specialists on senior affairs.
Another option for assistance is your local Area Agency on Aging. Here, you find professionals who know senior assistance programs inside out. These folks can also help with applications. Meanwhile, the Administration for Community Living takes both national and community-focused approaches to advocate for seniors. It assists with legal matters, long-term care, health insurance counseling, and even elder abuse protection. Last but not least, check out the Additional Resources section at the bottom of this guide.
Government Financial Help For Seniors
Retirement should be a peaceful time, spent from the stresses of working life. Unfortunately, many in retirement worry about how to get help with bills, both for everyday necessities and unexpected emergencies. Thankfully, the government programs listed below provide much-needed financial help for seniors.
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Tips And Warnings For Seniors
Senior citizens should consult with a financial adviser, an attorney and their lender when considering mortgage assistance. A housing counseling agency approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development can also help seniors sort out program options. HUD warns seniors about scams and reverse mortgage schemes. Seniors should also consult an attorney and real estate agent if approached with unsolicited purchase offers or loan modification help. Scammers may try to get struggling seniors to sell their homes for far less than market value or deed their homes over to them.
Canadian Government Grants For Seniors Up To $40k
It is important for seniors to be able to live comfortably and be able to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. There are several Canadian Government grants for seniors to help make it possible for them to be independent, able to look after themselves, and stay in the familiar environment of their own home. Weve compiled a list of Canadian government grants for seniors available in various provinces and for seniors living on reserves. The top inexpensive improvement that can greatly improve accessibility in your kitchen is installing sliding shelves. Top find out the other ways to improve accessibility by using grants keep reading.
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Can Senior Citizens Get Mortgages
Senior citizens can get mortgage loans just like everyone else it all depends on income, credit score, and cash available. Even seniors into their 90s can get mortgages if they qualify financially.
There are varying reasons for wanting a mortgage. Some seniors may want to downsize to a single-story home or a property that requires less upkeep or perhaps they want to be closer to family.
Some seniors even get mortgages to buy homes for their children who couldnt qualify for a loan.
No matter the reason, senior citizens are more than able to qualify for a mortgage. According to the Federal Trade Commission , elderly people are protected against discrimination from getting a home loan or any kind of credit based on their age. Its called the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, a federal law that protects borrowers against bias due to age, race, color, religion, national origin sex, marital status, or even those who get public assistance.
This means that all seniors are eligible to buy a home if they can qualify.
Do You Own Your Home Rent
Home Owners: There may be some mortgage relief programs available to you. And, your home equity could be a valuable source of money, but consider your options carefully.
- Reverse Mortgages: Explore the pros and cons of a reverse mortgage.
- Defer Consumer Loan Payments: Many banks are stepping up to help borrowers get through this situation. You can look up your lenders on this list from the banking trade association to see what concessions are being offered.
Renters and Homeowners: Due to the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced a nationwide eviction and foreclosure moratorium.
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Local And State Programs
Every state has at least one Area Agency on Aging office that can help older residents with a range of needs, including home modifications and repairs. The office should be able to help you find services that may be offered for free or on a sliding scale they could include anything from replacing roofs and hot water tanks to installing wheelchair ramps and grab bars. You must be at least 60 years old to be eligible income limits also apply.
Charities and non-profit organizations often provide free or low-cost home repair services to seniors. You may also be able to find volunteer home repair services in your area through a simple Internet search.
Canadian Government Grants For Seniors By Province
If you would like to renovate your home to make it more accessible so that you can live there longer, there are a number of grants available from the various provincial governments in Canada. Here is a listing by province of some of those grants. Please note that the following are all government programs that were current at the time of posting and are subject to change.
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Hardest Hit Fund Programs
The US Treasury administers the Hardest Hit Fund, which provides aid to the states that were most impacted by the economic crisis. Each of these states have local agencies that help homeowners in various ways, including mortgage payment assistance for the unemployed, principal reduction, and transactional assistance. This helps people either afford the homes theyre in, or move to more affordable housing.
Senior Home Buying Example: Qualifying For An Asset Depletion Loan
As an example, suppose retiree Michael has $1,000,000 in his 401 and he has not touched it.
Michael is not yet 70½, the age at which the IRS requires account owners to start taking required minimum distributions from 401s.
He is living off Social Security income, along with income from a Roth IRA.
To qualify Michael for a mortgage, the lender uses 70 percent of the 401 balance, or $700,000, minus his down payment and closing costs.
Note: Fannie Mae also allows borrowers to use vested assets from retirement accounts for the down payment, closing costs, and reserves.
Lets say that after down payment and closing costs, Michael is left with $630,000.
Assuming a 30year mortgage, that amount of $630k can then be used to gradually pay for his mortgage over the next 360 months. That would give him $1,750 a month to put toward a housing payment.
- Amount in 401 = $1,000,000
- Qualifying 401 funds = $700,000
- Funds left after down payment and closing costs = $630,000
- Monthly mortgage budget = $1,750
Though it is not a separate loan type, lenders sometimes call this an asset depletion loan or asset based loan. And borrowers may still count income from other sources when they use assets to help them qualify.
Michael could use the asset depletion method from his untouched 401 combined with the income he is already receiving from Social Security and his Roth IRA to qualify and borrow as much as possible.
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Mobility Aid Help For Seniors
Being able to move around inside your home or out in your community is essential for maintaining independence. Older adults are increasingly relying on devices like canes, walkers, and motorized scooters to help them stay mobile. In fact, according to a study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, around a quarter of Americans over age 65 use mobility aids, and a third of those use more than one type of device.
Canes and walkers are relatively inexpensive, ranging from about $15 for a basic cane to $150 for a deluxe rollator walker. Manual wheelchairs can cost anywhere from $100 to $750. And electric scooters and power wheelchairs typically cost well over $1,000.
Medicare Part B can help cover the cost of mobility aids if a qualified healthcare provider determines that such items are medically necessary for you to move around inside your home. So, for instance, if you have a health condition that impairs your mobility within your home, and that condition can’t be helped with a cane or a walker, you may be approved for a manual wheelchair. If you lack the strength to operate a manual wheelchair, you may receive approval for an electric scooter.
If your claim is approved, Medicare will cover 80 percent of the cost. If you have supplemental insurance, the other 20 percent may be covered as well.
State And Federal Unemployment Assistance
Laidoff workers may be eligible for unemployment income. The amount of unemployment income youre eligible to receive varies by state.
Visit your state governments website to see what unemployment assistance is available where you are. You can find contact information for your state government and agencies here.
In addition, the recentlypassed American Rescue Plan renews federal unemployment assistance .
Those who collect state unemployment assistance may also be eligible for an additional $300 per week in federal unemployment income, thanks to the new stimulus bill. This will be available until September 6, 2021.
The American Rescue Plan also includes direct payments of up to $1,400 for individuals with an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less and couples with an AGI of $150,000 or less.
Families will receive an additional stimulus check of up to $1,400 for each qualified dependent.
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Senior Housing Assistance And Rental Help
Finding affordable housing can be a major challenge for older Americans. The Department of Housing and Urban Development offers a number of programs that provide rent help for seniors and are designed to help low-income people secure decent and safe housing.
It’s important to note that demand for government-assisted housing far outstrips supply. Wait lists of two to five years or more are not uncommon, so try to plan ahead as far as possible.
Apply With Your Lender Of Choice
The refinance process begins with an application. You dont need to refinance with your current lender you can submit an application through your lender of choice. Your lender will usually ask you for documentation that proves your income. This can include statements detailing your Social Security benefits, tax returns and any statements from your retirement accounts.
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Other Ways To Get Help With Prescription Drug Costs
- Many pharmaceutical companies offer patient assistance programs to help seniors who can’t otherwise afford their medications. Check with your pharmacist or doctor, or search online at RxAssist.
- The Medicine Assistance Tool matches people with medication assistance programs they may be eligible for.
- You can search for State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs through the Medicare website. Eligibility requirements and coverage details vary, so check with your state’s health department for details.
- Prescription discount cards are also available from non-profit organizations like NeedyMeds and the National Council on Aging.
An Essential Directory Of Helpful Resources For Seniors
These websites can help older adults navigate the thousands of assistance options that are available:
- National Association of Area Agencies on Aging: A national association that allows seniors to search for their local Area Agency on Aging
- BenefitsCheckUp: A free, confidential service from the National Council on Aging that matches seniors with assistance programs and services for which they may be eligible
- AARP Foundation’s Guide to Public Benefits: A free online directory that helps older adults learn about the benefits available to them in their states
- Benefits.gov: A federal government site that allows seniors to browse available benefits or use the finder tool to discover programs and services that may apply to them
- Social Security: Answers to frequently asked questions
- State Health Insurance Assistance Programs : A free service that provides counseling to Medicare beneficiaries
- Hearing Aid Resources: A list of programs at both the national and state level
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State Assistance For Reverse Mortgage Borrowers
The federal government issued the Hardest Hit Fund for states experiencing a severe housing downturn. States such as Florida and California have used the federal funds to help senior citizens with a reverse mortgage who have fallen behind on property-related expenses. Seniors can get $25,000 to pay off their delinquent housing bills and cover 12 months of these future bills.
Although seniors don’t make payments on a reverse mortgage, they can still fall behind on property taxes, homeowners insurance and homeowners association dues. Failing to pay these expenses can cause a senior to lose the reverse mortgage and their home.
Senior Citizen Financial Planning
Social Security experts recommend living on 70% of your pre-retirement income. So, if you earned $50,000 a year when working, you should be comfortable living on $35,000 a year.
In reality, how much you should save for retirement depends on your lifestyle.
This is how much of your total income you should be spending on housing, transportation, food and healthcare, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Annual Expenditure Report.
- Housing 32.4%
- Food 12.9%
- Healthcare 12.2%
These are the four greatest expenses for people over the age of 65. After the age of 75, healthcare costs eclipse transportation, taking up 15.6% of your income, while transportation drops to 13.9%.
To be clear, these are only averages. How much each person spends on each category will vary. You shouldnt set aside 17% of your budget for transportation if you live walking distance from your usual haunts. Nor should you throw budgeting to the wind for a European vacation just because you really want to see the Eiffel Tower.
If balancing your budget proves too daunting, consider working with a reputable financial advisor or nonprofit credit counseling organization. A credit counselor can review your debts and expenses to help you reach a level of financial stability.
Managing your debts is important no matter what stage of life youre in. The father of western wisdom, Socrates, said it best with his last words:
Crito, we owe a rooster to Asclepius. Please, dont forget to pay the debt.
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