If you are unemployed, the Home Affordable Unemployment Program, which is part of the government’s Making Home Affordable initiative, can reduce your monthly mortgage payments or suspend payments entirely for a year or longer.
Read on to learn more about how this program can assist you if you are unemployed and having trouble making your mortgage payments.
(To learn about other programs that are part of the Making Home Affordable initiative, visit our Government Foreclosure Programs topic area.)
Overview of the Home Affordable Unemployment Program
The Home Affordable Unemployment Program (UP) is a complementary program to the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). HAMP allows certain homeowners to modify their mortgages. Under the UP program, loan servicers must provide a forbearance period to qualified unemployed borrowers prior to evaluating them for HAMP. During the forbearance period, the borrower's monthly mortgage payment is reduced or suspended.
To learn more about HAMP, see our article The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).
How the Unemployment Program Works
A borrower who is unemployed and requests assistance under HAMP must be considered for UP and given a plan under that program (if qualified) prior to being considered for a HAMP modification. If approved for the UP program, the borrower’s payments are:
- reduced to no more than 31% of his or her monthly income, or
- suspended entirely for 12 or more months for the first mortgage. (The program is not available for second mortgages.)
The payment reduction or suspension lasts until the end of the forbearance period or until the borrower finds a new job.
Eligibility for UP
You may qualify a payment reduction or suspension under the UP program if you meet the following criteria:
- You are unemployed and are able to document the fact that you are eligible for unemployment benefits.
- You occupy the house as your primary residence.
- The loan has not been previously modified under HAMP. (Borrowers who were previously deemed ineligible for a HAMP modification are eligible to apply for the UP program.)
- The loan originated on or before January 1, 2009.
- The unpaid principal balance on your home is equal to or less than $729,750.
- You are delinquent on payments (not more than three) or default is imminent.
- Your mortgage is not held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (though both have their own forbearance programs for unemployed homeowners. See Workout Options for Government-Backed Mortgages.)
If you are eligible for UP assistance, the servicer will send you a forbearance plan notice that includes the duration, payment amount (if applicable), effective date, and expiration date of the forbearance plan. If you find a new job during the forbearance period, let your loan servicer know so it can begin the HAMP loan modification evaluation process as soon as possible. Otherwise, 30 days before your forbearance period expires, the servicer will provide you with the documentation needed to evaluate you for HAMP.
Unemployment Program Availability
Currently, more than 100 loan servicers can offer relief to eligible unemployed homeowners under this program. (Only loan servicers that participate in HAMP offer the UP program.) If you become unemployed, contact your loan servicer immediately to find out if you qualify for a UP forbearance plan or other relief. The Making Home Affordable program is scheduled to end on December 31, 2016.
For More Information
For more information about HAMP and UP assistance, go to www.makinghomeaffordable.gov, select “Explore Programs”, then click on “View All Programs” and look at “Home Affordable Unemployment Program (UP)”. You can also call 888-995-HOPE (4673) if you have additional questions about getting mortgage assistance or avoiding foreclosure.