Fannie Mae Gives Wounded Soldiers A Break On Mortgages

Fannie Mae yesterday announced that military families with a member who was injured or killed while on active duty can apply for a forbearance of up to six months if they’re having trouble making their mortgage payments.

Under the forbearance, mortgage payments may be reduced or suspended, and credit reporting will be suspended as well.

Remember that a forbearance is only a temporary delay. After the forbearance period is over, you will have to repay what you still owe, either by moving the payments to the end of the mortgage term, making a lump-sum payment, or adding a set amount to your monthly payment that adds up to the difference.

For more info, call Fannie Mae’s military support hotline at 877-MIL-4566 or visit KnowYourOptions.com/Military.

Fannie Mae Offers Forbearance Option to Wounded Warriors and Surviving Spouses [Mortgage News Daily]

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  1. Dalsnsetters says:

    Ben, what exactly is a “woulded” soldier? :)

  2. whatdoyoucare says:

    Well, IMO that is the least our country can do for these families.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Death of a soldier aside, they do provide them with free education and pensions for life. I actually feel they get TOO much, at least non-combat veterans. Soldiers that never see action get the same benefits as those that do, and it seems overkill to me. Pardon the pun.

      The current conflicts obviously negate that – these soldiers deserve a lot. But others just spent 3-5 years getting trained on a base, getting paid for it, and THEN getting additional benefits after training for life.

      I’ve got my riot gear on, so bring on the backlash.

      • GameHen says:

        Where did you get this idea? My husband served 4 years (before 9/11) and was never deployed. He got an education benefit, but it’s not for life. It was worth a few years of schooling. Certainly not much better than the tuition reimbursement program my employer offers.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          And the pension? That what I meant as “for life”

          • RandomHookup says:

            Pensions for life? Only if you serve 20 years or get injured permanently. My 6.5 years of active duty gives me exactly $0 in pension, though I would have been vested in a retirement plan (by law) if I had been working at a private employer with a similar retirement plan.

            I understand that we do have a tendency to heap things onto soldiers and their families in times of hostilities and it’s easy to get funding for programs if they are “for the troops”, but it’s not as much gravy as people might think.

            • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

              I didn’t realize it takes 20 years – always good to learn.

              I’d like to see some research on the long-term benefits of military service. As you said, a lot of “for the troops” opportunities pop up all the time – restaurants, shopping, housing, it really hits the gambit of opportunities. And someone not in military life could see that and think that being a soldier means you live on Easy Street. So I would be interested in seeing research on wether or not it “pays” to be in the service – either 3 yrs or 30 yrs – over the course of one’s life,

          • myCatCracksMeUp says:

            by now you’ve presumably seen that pensions are only for those who retire, for which the minimum number of years of service is 20.

      • XianZhuXuande says:

        You’re overestimating the benefits a little, but deployment or not aside, the time they spent as property of the US government was time that could have led to them being deployed anywhere to fight whatever sort of war (or defend against whatever sort of threat) the government saw fit. We need a military and you have to make it lucrative enough for some people to want to participate in it. Fail to do that and you’ve got a draft.

        People who sign up to potentially fight and die for our nation and its freedom deserve a break (and in case anyone is tempted, they also don’t deserve to share in any criticism leveled against a particular administration).

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          But at certain times in history, people signed up knowing (or thinking they knew) they would not be in combat. At times of peace, it’s much easier to find recruits.

          • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

            During the past 30 years, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a single year without a combat deployment — Just off of the top of my head… Beirut, Grenada, Panama, Desert Storm, Somalia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Croatia, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan.

            The 1990’s were relatively peaceful with predominately peace support missions but recruiting was incredibly difficult back then. There were constant troop shortages even during the downsizing that was going on. The challenges of recruiting have more to do with the economy than anything else.

            • RandomHookup says:

              The 1980s were pretty quiet. Grenada and Panama (and Beirut peacekeeping) are the only ones I remember, and even those didn’t involve much more than a division. There was always a chance of getting deployed somewhere dangerous, but it wasn’t a high probability. Of course, the Cold War was still on…

          • 99 1/2 Days says:

            That’s BS. There’s always a chance of seeing action.

      • SonarTech52 says:

        The only ways a soldier would get a “pension” for life, is by retiring after 20 yrs of service or if they are wounded and disabled while in service.

        As stated below, education is limited to a couple of years (little over an Associates Degree) and everyone that participates in the GI Bill, put in $100 a month for the first year of service(when it hurts the most.) The Post 9/11 is a little better, but I havent read all of the details (since ive already used my GI Bill to get an Associates degree.)

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        “Death of a soldier aside, they do provide them with free education and pensions for life”

        Military benefits can be very good but I think you’re grossly overestimating them in relation to the personal and health toll a career in the military can lead to. The vast majority of soldiers serve one or two enlistments and aren’t eligible for pensions. They are eligible for VA health benefits but they’re only free for disabilities/injuries related to their service. Everything else is means tested and can be very expensive if you have even average income. The Post 9/11 GI Bill is very good but even that has its limits. VA Home Loans are good if you can’t make a down payment but the rates are high and it’s incredibly difficult to buy an old home.

        Basically, when you join the military you are putting your life on hold. When you get out, you are essentially 3 – 6 years behind your peers in terms of education and career. The GI BIll definitely helps you catch up but you lose some of the most productive time in your life.

        For lifers, getting to retire with a full paycheck and free health care after 20 years is definitely a good perk. But you are bound to the military; there’s no rolling over a 401k if you leave after 15 years. You also make a lot of personal sacrifices in the process — moving every year, deployments, field exercises that go on for months, etc. It’s very rough on yourself, your family, and your body.

        I served 7 years in the Army and three combat and peacekeeping deployments. I was a single guy and enjoyed my time in but I realized I could never make it a career. Between a blown back and knees from constant ruck marches, lack of feeling in my feet from frost bite during a particularly cold Balkan winter, and the occasional nightmare of scraping up blown up bits of little kids and securing mass graves, I feel like I put in a lot more than I took out.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          “When you get out, you are essentially 3 – 6 years behind your peers in terms of education and career. “

          That’s arguable, although true is some situations. You are still being educated, just not always collegiate education. As someone pointed out, the military might spend 2 million to train you if you are a specialist. In many instances, that training can be used to obtain private industry jobs, sometimes lucrative. In all cases, you learn to be your own person, confident and physically fit.

          And getting a job is a lot easier with military experience under your belt. Employers like that. Even with 3-5 years lost, it opens doors that might otherwise have been closed.

          • SonarTech52 says:

            It is true that some places will look highly on prior military. But, not all of the education given in the military is transferrable to the civilian life. I was an Advanced Electronics Program Sonar Technician, with 1 1/2 years of military schooling in electronics and sonar equipment. So I lack actual certifications, and degrees where if I werent in the military, I would aready have. Also, how many civilian jobs are there for Sonar Techs?

            They do have a program where they try to get you college credits for all of your schooling, but that depends on the College you go to. I had about 96 Recommended College Credit Hours, you know how much the colleges around me would take? 8 hours…

            • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

              I was in the same situation. I served back when the Army was being downsized, so I had three MOSs — 11B/11H/11M. That’s light infantry, heavy anti-armor infantry, and mechanized infantry (Bradleys).

              I signed up for the infantry because I was 17 and wanted to the $5,000 bonus. For the most part I did enjoy my time in but the skills really didn’t help me in terms of college, grad school, or my current career.

          • RandomHookup says:

            For the college-educated, you start behind your peers in many ways — compensation, specific experiences (being an armor officer doesn’t give you the same kinds of experiences that someone who started in another industry gets — you get better leadership/management training & experiences, but you didn’t learn some of the very specific things that those who have worked in the industry did), technical skills.

            Years ago, I took a big pay cut after years as an officer partly because my experiences didn’t directly translate to civilian jobs (and I wasn’t a combat officer). Companies hire professionals for specific skills (even more so today) and the military doesn’t always give you those. Being a confident leader? — military guys & gals have that licked. But most companies that don’t hire lots of junior officers don’t know what to do with that background.

            I do recruiting for a software company and really wouldn’t look at lots of the people coming out of the military because we don’t have training programs that can take that background and build on it for what we need.

      • myCatCracksMeUp says:

        Pensions for life?

        That is for RETIRED military members, and it’s not very much, based on years of service (20 is the minimum, and it’s what most retire with) and your grade when you retire. A woman I know gets $18K a year in retirement benefits.

        And the education benefit isn’t for life either – it’s a limited amount.

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I have always been thoroughly confused on why military families seem to routinely have difficulties supporting themselves. As a previous post has pointed out, payday loan businesses thrive outside military bases.

    Doesn’t the U.S. pay their soldiers enough to have a comfortable living? Especially if the person making the money (the soldier) isn’t actually using much of it while in combat.

    • SonarTech52 says:

      The lower rank military does not make alot, and if you’re married then it makes it tougher. When I was E-1 through E-4 I constantly had to get payday loans to cover my bills. I had a night and weekends job also, to help ends meet. Once you get some time in, and some rank, then you start getting by decently.

      Single soldiers/sailors have it much better, because usually they are living in the barracks or have roomates..

      When I made E-5 and I had 4 yrs in, I was making the equivelant of about $16 / hour (that’s with housing allowance.)

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        You seem pretty knowledgable, and I admit I am not. What exactly IS the typical salary range for the first few years of service? And is it salary or a tru hourly rate? I assume it’s a flat monthly/biweekly/etc rate.

        • jason in boston says:

          Yup – I remember the e-1 to e-4 days. Even with Nuke pay, it was crap. I don’t think I broke $25,000. They actually wanted us to live on the ship when it was in port. I got a second job to cover rent. E-5 is when housing kicked in for us and that was a nice little break.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            But isn’t $25k a great salary when food and lodging are included? I mean, if you choose to buy nothing frilly for yourself, that’s practically pure profit.

            Having a family seems when it gets complicated, but perhaps military families need to be like the rest of us and have 2 incomes.

            • SonarTech52 says:

              25k might be great for a single soldier/sailor, but when the family comes in, like you said, it gets complicated.

              True that they need two incomes to get by, but how good of a career will the spouse be able to get, when you are having to move every 2-3 years?

            • jason in boston says:

              I was on an aircraft carrier. $25k is good if you want to literally live in your bunk and eat ship food (which is garbage while in port – out to sea is much better). I don’t know many people that want to live with 90 other people with no privacy after the age of…well, ever. Out to sea is different obviously.

              People have to have lives away from work.

              • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

                I worked on a cruise ship. I was a musician, which was the cishiest job you could have save for an officer. We worked 4-6 hours a day, with some days off, and had most of the day to ourselves to go to port.

                But the one thing that was a negative was A) bunking with someone (the band leader didn’t) and the fact that you could never “leave” the ship. You were chained to that thing.

                • jason in boston says:

                  I would have given up a lung to only have to bunk with 1 person. That is a main reason that many e-1 to e-4s go into debt to live off the ship. How are you expected to have a social life or a significant other if you live on an aircraft carrier?

        • jennsters says:

          We get paid on the 1st and the 15th. An E-1 to E-4 makes roughly $600-$900 a pay day, but that’s not including housing allowance. Housing allowance varies based on where you live.

          • GameHen says:

            Yeah, our housing allowance in San Diego was so low that we would have had to live in the slums if I wasn’t working.

        • SonarTech52 says:

          Here is the current year’s pay scale. http://www.navycs.com/2010-military-pay-chart.html It has come up since I have been in (1998-2002), it is a monthly scale, and it looks like they are getting a bit more then when i was in.

          You also have to figure, that we had to maintain our own uniforms, (with a slight clothing allowance once a year), but in the Navy, we had 6 different uniforms to keep up. That gets expensive.

          I believe it was around $800 a month for a E-1, so that is looking better. Before I got out, I figured out what I would need to get paid hourly to make at least what I was making in the military.

          You also have to figure the amount of work we did. When out to sea, the normal work-week was 6 days, about 12 hours of regular work and possibly 4-5 hours of Watch to stand during the night. There have been many times when I would get 3-4 hours of sleep, sometimes none at all. Of course, the Army and Marines have worse than we did, at least we had some relax time.

          All while going back to a bay of about 90 other sailors to sleep in three high bunk beds, with a 3 inch cusion for a mattress. Being away from home for 6 months at a time etc….

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            All very good information! I always like to learn about things I don’t know. Sorry if I rocked some people’s boats – pun intended.

            • SonarTech52 says:

              I like to inform :) Knowledge is power!

              I just have a lot of experience with the military. From my step-dad joining the Army and while he was still lower ranks and having to shop at thrift stores even though my Mom worked as well. To joining the Navy and trying to start a family with nothing (empty apartment, working our way up.)

              fyi, the destroyer I was on only rocked in high seas :P Then it helps you sleep, as long as you know how to lay correctly.

        • ARP says:

          I understand housing allowance, but do you get meals paid for as well? I guess one benefit is that you get medical taken care of.

          • RandomHookup says:

            You do get meals provided if you live in the barracks (or are above a certain rank, in some cases). If you don’t, you get a meal allowance of about $300 for enlisted troops to cover their food for the month. That doesn’t mean that troops don’t waste money on dining out…they are 18 or so and that money burns a hole in their pocket. You can always count of lots of people not eating in the dining facility when they just get paid…put the day before, the place is packed.

    • jennsters says:

      It depends on rank and years in service. The lower ranks make very little. However, from my experience much of the problem comes because people simply do not know how to handle money. I know families who have $40 left over after all bills are paid because they rent-to-own everything in their house including an 85-inch plasma tv. They usually have bad or no credit and all of a sudden they can get approved for credit because they are military and they go wild.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        So would you recommend that soldiers receive money-managing education while in service?

        Because it sounds like a good idea.

        • RandomHookup says:

          It’s hard to do. The military is a “train your own” or hire a contractor to teach it ($$$) environment. As much as they might want to, it’s not a priority.

        • jennsters says:

          Yes! And it is available, but most people don’t use it. We had some money management classes in basic training, but none of us took it seriously. Most of the people I know on post come from very low income homes and have no education past high school. They have no idea what to do with the money that comes in, so they end up living paycheck to paycheck.

    • GameHen says:

      Not really. Consider that many of these soldiers that payday loans thrive on do not have college degrees. Many of these (like my husband) are kids getting out of dead-end and bad situations at home and haven’t developed a lot of life skills. Military pay grades for non-college educated lower ranking soldiers is generally very very low. Your tax dollars don’t pay for good salaries…they pay for expensive equipment.

      My husband was in a specialized skill set. He was EOD (bomb squad). The military spends upwards of $2 million on each of these guys’ education. Yet as an E4 in 2001 he was paid about $20K a year. He received a slight “hazard bonus” for the type of work he did which amounted to about $5K extra. Needless to say they lost that $2 million investment when he left to do much safer and more lucrative work in the private sector at the end of his term.

  4. RickinStHelen says:

    “. . . families with an injured or dead active duty service member .” You can be an injured active duty soldier, but you cannot have a dead active duty soldier, airman, or seaman. It’s hard to be an active anything when dead except to be actively decomposing. You can die while on active duty though, which is what they mean.

    • RosevilleWgn says:

      I don’t the time frame, but in the insurance world, a spouse/family can retain their “active duty” coverage for a set time if their sponsor died while deployed.

  5. tinmanx says:

    I think military families with a member killed in action should have their mortgage forgiven. It’s the least we can do as a country for someone who died for our country – take care of their family.

    But then again, this is banks we’re talking about, it’s all about the money.

    • K-Bo says:

      The thing is, unless the government pays off the loan, it’s not the country doing it for the soldiers, it’s the bank. And we all know they aren’t in business to make friends, they are in business to make money. Though it would be nice for them to do something nice every once in a while, I’m not holding my breath waiting for it.

      • GrammatonCleric says:

        Well the only problem there is that you think of the government as our country. We make up our country, not them.

    • K-Bo says:

      I’d like to add also: Maybe the answer here is that the job comes with significant life insurance. The odds of something happening are so much greater than most careers, the least we can do is assure these people if they die defending us, their families will be taken care of. That would help families that don’t have mortgages (renters, own home but have other debt, live with family ect.)

      • RandomHookup says:

        Actually, the government has a long-standing policy of providing soldiers/sailors very cheap life insurance, because most commercial policies have a wartime exclusion. It’s called SGLI and the current max payout is $400k. The cost is pretty low (6.5 cents per month per $100k).

        There’s also a death gratuity paid to your survivors. If you die in combat, it’s $100k. The government also pays Survivor Benefit Pay and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, but I’m not sure how those work.

        Dependents usually end up with a pretty healthy supply of cash and are often like lottery winners — they don’t know what to do with it and don’t have a lot of (reliable) help on how to plan for the future. It used to be pretty common for a young widow without kids to have lots of suitors and be in no hurry to remarry because then many of the payments would stop.

    • Hoss says:

      the ones taking fire are less likely to have a mortgage

  6. H3ion says:

    This is Fannie Mae which, while technically now owned by the government, is supposed to be a private corporation. What they are doing is a nice gesture but the article is clear. It’s a temporary delay and not a forgiveness of either interest or principal, and those whose mortgage payments also include tax escrows will find that the tax authorities don’t give forbearances in quite the same way. For what the military personnel go through, especially in combat zones, it would be decent for the government to provide some insurance or family support payment when a military person is killed or wounded. So, FNMA’s policy is nice, but in the long run it’s a six-month hiatus to figure out how to start over.

    • ShadowFalls says:

      True, but having the ability to tack it on to the end is sometimes all a family needs. Which makes it sad this is only available to families of wounded soldiers. Other people can have just as disastrous occurrences in their life where this type of arrangement would keep them out of foreclosure.

      We all know how unforgiving mortgages companies are when it comes to you falling just one payment behind. There is a number of people who could benefit from a similar program.

  7. padarjohn says:

    There’s a difference between applying and receiving. Given the current record of the mortgage industry it will be interesting to see if anyone really accomplishes this.

  8. StevePierce says:

    How is this picture related to the story?

    Force feeding toy soldiers to a person in a Burka.

    What am I missing besides a sense of humor?

    – Steve
    military spouse