Learn about forbearance
Most homeowners can temporarily pause or reduce their mortgage payments if they’re struggling financially.
Forbearance is when your mortgage servicer or lender allows you to pause or reduce your mortgage payments for a limited time while you build back your finances.
For most loans, there will be no additional fees, penalties, or additional interest (beyond scheduled amounts) added to your account, and you do not need to submit additional documentation to qualify. You can simply tell your servicer that you have a pandemic-related financial hardship.
Forbearance doesn’t mean your payments are forgiven or erased. You are still obligated to repay any missed payments, which, in most cases, may be repaid over time or when you refinance or sell your home. Before the end of the forbearance, your servicer will contact you about how to repay the missed payments.
COVID-19 mortgage relief: 4 things to know
Since March 2020, millions of homeowners have received forbearance under the CARES Act, allowing them to temporarily pause or reduce their mortgage payments.
Who is eligible for forbearance?
You may have a right to a COVID hardship forbearance if:
- you experience financial hardship directly or indirectly due to the coronavirus pandemic, and
- you have a federally backed mortgage, which includes HUD/FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac loans.
For mortgages that are not federally backed, servicers may offer similar forbearance options. If you are struggling to make your mortgage payments, servicers are generally required to discuss payment relief options with you, whether or not your loan is federally backed.
When is the deadline for applying?
If your loan is backed by HUD/FHA , USDA (see 9/27/21 announcement ), or VA , you may request an initial COVID hardship forbearance as long as the COVID-19 National Emergency is in place.
If your loan is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, there is not currently a deadline for requesting an initial forbearance.
How long does forbearance last?
Your initial forbearance plan will typically last 3 to 6 months. If you need more time to recover financially, you can request an extension. For most loans, your forbearance can be extended up to 12 months. Some loans may be eligible for up to 18 months of forbearance, depending on when your initial forbearance started. Other limitations may apply.
- If your mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac : You may request up to two additional three-month extensions, for a maximum of 18 months of total forbearance. But to be eligible, you must have been in an active forbearance plan as February 28, 2021.
- If your mortgage is backed by HUD/FHA , USDA , or VA : You may request up to two additional three-month extensions, for a maximum of 18 months of total forbearance. But to qualify, you must have requested an initial forbearance plan on or before June 30, 2020. Not all borrowers will qualify for the maximum.
What to do next
Figure out who services your mortgage, and see if your mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or the federal government.
Get expert help
Talk to a housing counselor
For help talking to your mortgage servicer or understanding your options, contact a HUD-approved housing counseling agency in your area. Housing counselors can develop a tailored plan of action and help you work with your mortgage company, at no cost to you.
Talk to a lawyer
If you need a lawyer, there may be resources to assist you, and you may qualify for free legal services through legal aid. If you’re a servicemember, you should consult with your local Legal Assistance Office .
Submit a complaint
If you have a complaint with your mortgage or forbearance plan, tell us about your issue—we'll forward it to the company and work to get you a response, generally within 15 days.