Looking for mortgage assistance for disabled homeowners? Read on to learn about the options available to you today.
Owning a home arrives with an abundance of benefits, from liberating you from the vulnerabilities of renting to offering better accessibility.
And yet, purchasing a home is also a substantial investment that typically requires a steady household income and high creditworthiness–things that are difficult to obtain if a disability prevents you from being able to perform tasks demanded by the workforce. Further, research demonstrates a direct correlation between disabilities and poverty, increasing the challenges of saving for a down deposit and paying a monthly mortgage.1
Fortunately, it is recognized that every person has the right to a safe, comfortable, and healthy home. To meet this aim, a handful of programs are available to provide disability benefits like mortgage assistance for disabled homeowners. Read on as we dive into the subject.
What Is Mortgage Assistance?
Mortgage assistance can arrive in the form of help with a down payment on a home or aid with monthly mortgage payments. If you’re having difficulty paying your monthly mortgage, assistance may be available to help you avoid facing foreclosure.2
Help can be provided through:
- Forbearance – This is a short-term solution in which your mortgage payments are reduced or put on hold for a determined length of time. It’s important to know the pros and cons of mortgage forbearance. Interest will still accumulate during forbearance, and your credit score may be impacted. However, its effect on your credit is less consequential than missing a mortgage payment and far less than foreclosure.
- Loan modification – If approved, loan modifications allow you to discuss new stipulations with your mortgage servicer, such as reduced monthly payments or decreased interest rates. This, too, may harm your credit score, but again, not as severely as a foreclosure. To obtain a loan modification, you will have to offer proof of financial hardship, as well as evidence of the ability to pay your modified loan.
What Are the Housing and Loan Rights for the Disabled?
There are several laws to be cognizant of as you navigate purchasing a home—or applying for assistance for your monthly payments. The most important for disabled persons include:
- Equal Opportunity Credit Act (EOCA) – The Equal Opportunity Credit Act (EOCA) was established to disallow creditors from discriminating against applicants based on sex, age, marital status, disabilities, and other factors.2 This act is especially vital to people with a disability who will use (or do) public financial assistance for making their down payment or monthly mortgage payments.
- The Fair Housing Act – The Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords, real estate companies, banks, and lenders from discriminating against those with disabilities, including substance abuse issues/addiction. The Fair Housing Act also requires accessibility updates to properties built after 1991 to ensure the disabled can move safely within their residences.2
- Americans with Disabilities Acts (ADA) – The Americans with Disabilities Act offers protections for the disabled in terms of prohibiting discrimination within the realms of public transportation, public spaces, employment, and public accommodations, among others.2
Programs for Mortgage Assistance for Disabled Owners
One of your first orders of action should be to gather as much information about your options as possible. Fortunately, several programs offer free or low-cost counseling and loan assistance for disabled homebuyers and owners—some of which are listed below.
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is a valuable resource for disabled homeowners. HUD-approved agencies are equipped with certified experts who give counseling to the disabled at a reduced cost or free of charge. They will take your situation and budget into consideration and point you toward the most viable options for your circumstances.3
One of the most common forms of assistance from HUD is the HUD Homeownership Voucher Program, which may give you access to:
- Subsidized mortgage payments
- $200 towards closing costs
If you live on a fixed income funded by the Social Security Administration and are having trouble with your living expenses, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).2 This gives disabled homeowners financial breathing room in the form of assistance with utility costs and groceries, thereby freeing up room for your mortgage payments or a down payment.
USDA Home Loans for Disabled Persons
Although the US Department of Agriculture might not be the first federal agency that comes to mind for home mortgages, they offer a beneficial mortgage loan program that enables homes to be purchased with disability income.2 In addition to loan assistance, the USDA also provides a loan and home modification grant program for home remodel financing.
Several states have programs to assist disabled homeowners with their down payment and closing costs. For example, your state’s Housing Finance Agency (HFA) and the Mortgage Credit Certification (MCC) Program provides first-time homebuyers with a federal income tax credit, which frees up money that can be used towards mortgage payments.4
Several laws and programs are in place to protect the disabled and provide mortgage assistance for disabled homeowners. And codified rights ensure that disabled persons cannot be discriminated against when purchasing homes.
- Federal Housing Finance Agency. Mortgage Assistance. https://www.fhfa.gov/Homeownersbuyer/MortgageAssistance
- US Department of Agriculture. Housing Assistance. https://www.usda.gov/topics/rural/housing-assistance
- US Department of Housing and Urban Development. HCV Homeownership Program. https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/public_indian_housing/programs/hcv/homeownership
- US Department of Justice. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act. https://www.justice.gov/crt/equal-credit-opportunity-act-3
- US Department of Justice. The Fair Housing Act. https://www.justice.gov/crt/fair-housing-act-1
- US Department of Labor. Americans with Disabilities Act. https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/disability/ada
- United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions. Fulfilling the Promise: Overcoming Persistent Barriers to Economic Self-Sufficiency for People with Disabilities. https://www.help.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/HELP%20Committee%20Disability%20and%20Poverty%20Report.pdf