Coronavirus relief continues for housing and student loans

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

AS the Coronavirus pandemic continues, so does its financial impact. For people who need help with rent or mortgage payments, or have student loans, there may be some good news about the federal relief response.

Renters — The temporary stop on evictions for certain renters now runs through March 31, 2021. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on who is eligible and the steps to take.

Homeowners — If you’re struggling to make your federally backed mortgage payments because of the pandemic, payment forbearance may still be available, and the pause on foreclosures runs through at least March 31, 2021. The Federal Housing Finance Agency tells you how to find out if your mortgage is federally backed. Contact your mortgage servicer to find out what other help is available to you.

Student Loan Borrowers — For those federal student loans that are covered, the U.S. Department of Education has automatically paused payments through September 30, 2021.

Remember that scammers are paying attention to this news and may try to take advantage of you. Here are some ways to protect yourself:

• Don’t pay to get these benefits. Be wary of anyone who contacts you to offer financial services or rental assistance for a fee. If you need housing assistance, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has a list of approved housing counseling agencies organized by state or territory.

• Don’t give your personal or financial information to anyone who contacts you. Even if you reached out for assistance, make sure you know who you are talking to. And know that government officials will never contact you and ask for your Social Security, bank account, or credit card number. If you’ve given that information to someone you don’t know, visit IdentityTheft.gov to learn what to do.

• Keep up with the latest scams by subscribing to Consumer Alerts from the FTC.
If you spot a scam, please report it to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. (Atty. Emily Wu/Federal Trade Commission)

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