Gulf Oil Spill Victims Get Mortgage Relief Courtesy of Fannie Mae

Has your income been hit hard by the oil spill? Frustrated by the slow response of BP and its CEO, Tony Hayward (pictured left)? If you have a Fannie Mae mortgage, you may be eligible for as much as a six-month suspension on your mortgage payments, according to a new emergency program announced by the government-sponsored corporation.

How much help you can get will depend on how hard your finances have been hit by the Gulf oil spill. You also may be eligible if your property has sustained severe damage.

Here's how it's designed to work: The servicer must check on the condition of the property, as well as on the borrower's financial condition. After the servicer completes his assessment, he determines exactly what help the borrower needs. The servicer then develops a loss mitigation plan based on a case-by-case determination.

The servicer can allow an additional three months of forbearance (mortgage payment suspension), develop a loan modification plan, or recommend another type of customized solution.

"We want to give homeowners every opportunity to weather this unprecedented disaster, including relief from their mortgage payment if that will help them get back on their feet and stay in their homes," said Michael J. Williams, president and CEO of Fannie Mae, in a news release announcing the program. "Our policy is in place to support those who are experiencing a disaster-related hardship through no fault of their own and are acting in good faith to meet their mortgage obligation."

This emergency program falls under the "Special Relief Measures" of Fannie Mae. Servicers can
suspend or reduce a borrower's payments for up to 90 days. During that period, the servicer must then determine how the borrower is financially affected by the disaster.

If you want help under this new Fannie Mae "Special Relief Measures" policy, call your mortgage servicer and let them know how you've been affected by the Gulf oil spill.

Lita Epstein has written more than 25 books, including
"The 250 Questions You Should Ask About Avoiding Foreclosure."

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