Mortgage help for the disabled
The disabled have a few options available that can offer them help with mortgage payments. Assistance is available as they go about the process of applying for disability from the Social Security Administration (SSA) or their may also be programs that can help them as they try to balance their budgets while living on a fixed SSI payment. While the amount of financial aid available for paying a mortgage is limited, the disabled can often receive free advice from housing specialists on all of the resources that may be provided to them.
The assistance can come from one of many different places. The first point of contact should be a federal government Housing and Urban development (HUD) approved agency. These non-profits will provide either free or low cost counseling services to the disabled.
After meeting with a specialist, the client will often learn that there are several programs that can help with a mortgage. The specialists from a HUD approved agency can review them all. The staff know that it can be very challenging to pay a home loan on a SSDI or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment of less than $1000 per month, which is what most people receive. So they will help the client enroll into one of the services listed below.
- Federal government back programs can help the disabled modify their mortgage payment, which can result in lower interest rates or extended repayment terms.
- When the loan balance is higher than the value of the property, the FHA Short Refinance program may assist.
- Many banks offer programs that low income disabled families can apply too, such as principal reduction plans, loan modifications, deed in lieu of foreclosure, short sales, and many others.
- Find locations and more details on HUD approved housing counseling agencies.
The disabled can also take out a low cost home loan from the Federal 203(k) Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance program. This will provide the homeowner cash, however the money needs to be used to pay for repairs or improvements to them home. In some cases a grant is used, and those funds will technically be free as the money does not need to be repaid. No matter the type of aid provided, this can free up their other sources of income paying their mortgage.
The modifications allowed by the 203K program can help make updates to account for the disability. This includes, but is not limited too, installing crab bars, tubs, lifts, railings, and other modifications. The money can low interest rate loans can also pay for any needed repairs that the disabled owner may need. Using this source of government funding is often less expensive than taking out a home equity loan or a second mortgage, so the 203K program is definitely an option. Find more on free home improvement programs for the disabled.
Disabled homeowners can also seek mortgage help from the FHFA Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). If the borrower has a very small number of late payments within the last year (such as maybe before they filed for SSA disability payments), then HARP may be able to assist them. It provides them with a new, lower interest rate mortgage. There is no appraisal that needs to be done, no additional origination fees, and other benefits. Everything is done to help reduce the costs for a homeowner with a disability, and they often get priority when applying.
When applying for any type of disability mortgage assistance from HARP, the homeowners can request this program from their current bank or lender. Or if they do not feel like they have been treated fairly in the past, or if they want to shop around for another company, FHFA has approved other lenders to offer loans as part of HARP. Fannie Mae as well as Freddie Mac are also involved in the service, and will not discriminate do age, disability, race, etc. The best place to get a listing of them is from a non-profit credit counselor or a current lender. Only as a last should the FHFA be contacted at 202.649.3811.
Most states also operate an Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC). While they will not provide direct financial assistance for paying a mortgage, they will provide referrals and information. Both senior citizens as well as the disabled can be clients of an ADRC center. There are many resources available for people that live on SSI disability payments or a fixed income. The centers can direct clients to services such as below.
- Home repairs and modifications, including grants that do not need to be repair, may be very beneficial to the disabled.
- Many energy bill assistance programs, including LIHEAP, can provide a grant and, similar to above, this will free up a handicapped person's income for their mortgage.
- Interest free loans are available for paying housing costs, including real estate taxes or for moving, from some non-profits and government agencies. More on disability loans.
- The Aging & Disability Resource Center can direct the homeowner to foreclosure prevention programs, counseling, and many other housing resources. Dial 1-800-677-1116 for referrals to a local center.
Mortgage help for new home purchases is available from the HUD Homeownership Voucher Program. While it will not assist with paying any arrears, it can help someone with a physically or mental disability pay for the purchase of a new home. The vouchers cover applicant's with a low income, and it is a subsidy program. This means that the disability grants from the Social Security Administration will still need to pay for a portion of the costs involved.
The HUD voucher program can not only pay for a mortgage, the grants can cover property taxes, some routine maintenance costs, mortgage insurance and more. However this type of funding is on an exception basis, and a portion of the borrowers disability payments will also need to be made for these expenses.
The federal government also provides grants to law firms, and these attorneys then provide low income families free legal aid. In almost all cases an application that is living on SSI disability payments will qualify.
One of the goals of these law firms is to reduce homelessness and deal with housing issues. This will include everything from foreclosures to utility disconnections and other barriers. Individuals can call one of these law firms to make an appointment to discuss their case. All of the guidance is free and confidential. They can try to sue a lender if the foreclosure is illegal, negotiate a payment plan on the mortgage arrears for the disabled client, and help with completion of any forms for court.
The offices will also be handicapped accessible, since the firms use government grants to pay for some of their operations. Legal staff will also be able to complete any applications to home loan programs that need to be done on behalf of the disabled client. So the services available are very comprehensive. Locate additional information on free legal assistance programs.