The definition is broad, covering anything pandemic-related that materially reduced your household’s income or increased your living expenses, including temporary changes.
Examples of income reductions include being laid off or having your hours cut when your employer was required to close its stores or limit in-person services. Examples of higher living expenses include COVID-related medical bills and higher food costs because you had to take in relatives who lost their jobs.
You don’t have to back this up with any specific proof or paperwork; instead, you simply have to attest that you suffered a hardship because of COVID and describe it. But be forewarned, false statements can result in you being prosecuted for perjury.
How do you apply?
You have to do it online, at camortgagerelief.org. If you don’t have access to the internet or a computer, you can ask a housing counselor to assist you. For help finding a counselor certified by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, call (800) 569-4287. You may also get help from the company servicing your mortgage.
The online application process starts with questions to determine your eligibility. If you meet the state’s criteria, you can then complete an application for funds. Here’s where you will need some paperwork to establish how much you earn and how much you owe.
According to the program’s website, among the documents you will need to provide are a mortgage statement, bank statements, utility bills and records that show the income earned by every adult in your household, such as pay stubs, tax returns or a statement of unemployment benefits. Applicants who are not reliant on public assistance or paying more than 40% of their household income to their lenders will also be asked for proof that their lender refused to defer debt or modify their loan to help them avoid foreclosure.
The site provides links to the application in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Tagalog.
“If you have all your information and documents gathered, you can fill out the application on a computer, smartphone or tablet in under 30 minutes,” Franklin said. “Documents can easily be uploaded through your smart phone by using your phone’s browser to log on to the application portal and taking a photo of the needed information and adding it to your application.”
When will your mortgage debt be paid?