The government is extending more relief to unemployed homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgages. Beginning this month, mortgage servicers are required to put unemployed borrowers whose loans are not owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on forbearance plans that defer mortgage payments. (The government-sponsored enterprises each have their own plans that defer payments for unemployed borrowers for up to six months.)

To qualify for the new Home Affordable Unemployment Program, borrowers must be receiving unemployment benefits for at least three months and must request a forbearance before missing three mortgage payments.

Borrowers cannot have had their mortgage previously modified under the Home Affordable Modification Program.

Servicers also may no longer consider unemployment insurance benefits as a source of income when evaluating borrowers for Hamp after July 1.

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