As the flood waters begin subsiding over the next few days and recovery begins, we wanted to share a few important points about what happens if you are unable to make payments to your mortgage company, car lender, credit card companies, student loans, etc., due to Harvey:
1. A declaration of a disaster zone does not automatically suspend payments owed to lenders. Failure to timely make your payments will result in consequences.
2. The good news is that you can request help by contacting the individual companies. Many may offer assistance. If you have a federally backed mortgage, there may be specific programs available to help (contact your mortgage servicer for details).
3. You must request help, it is not automatic. You should not pay someone to do this for you. An offer of help for a fee may be a scam and it is important you know exactly what information is provided to your lender and exactly what they are offering.
4. Keep copies of all communications with your lenders, including e-mails, faxes and letters, and take detailed notes of your conversations with them.
5. If assistance is offered, make sure you fully understand the terms. When will your normal payments resume? How will the missed payments be repaid? Will there be any fees or late charges?
6. If assistance is offered, do not hesitate to follow-up with the company frequently to ask questions. Also always make sure you receive the agreement in writing!
7. If you have federally backed student loans, the U.S. Department of Education has directed lenders to offer repayment assistance to borrowers affected by Hurricane Harvey. You should contact your lender and can find more information here.
8. If you lost your job or are self-employed and have been unable to work you may qualify for disaster unemployment assistance from the Texas Workforce Commission. You can find more information here.
The information contained in this blog is for general information and educational purposes and is not legal advice. Reading these posts does not create an attorney/client relationship.