Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Homeowners Assistance Program cutoff date changed

In 2009, Congress passed the Expanded Homeowners' Assistance Program ("HAP") to assist military members suffering as a result of the housing bust across the country. As part of that bill, assistance was to be given to members of the military receiving PCS orders through September 30, 2012.

However, as the Army Corps of Engineers has recently reported, of the $855 million designated for the program, approximately $763.8 million has already been used on behalf of 5,093 homeowners. There are another approximately 4,500 military members who have been deemed eligible to receive benefits, and the funding is dwindling rapidly. Additionally, new applications are still being submitted for consideration at approximately 300 per month. As a result of the funding issue, the cutoff date for those receiving PCS orders has been moved up by 2 years to September 30, 2010.

Military members who otherwise may have been eligible for benefits under HAP may no longer be able to receive benefits because they were in the middle of a deployment and therefore unable to receive their permanent PCS orders while deployed. In a recent article in the Army Times, Karen Jowers stated that the Army has proposed a policy change which would allow deployed personnel to still be considered eligible for benefits if: (1) they were forward deployed from March 1, 2010 through August 31, 2010, (2) received PCS orders within 45 days of their return from deployment and (3) met all the other eligibility requirements for expanded HAP assistance. It is expected that a decision on this policy change will occur in the next week or two.

Even if the proposed policy change is adopted, it is unclear whether or not additional funding will be allotted to the expanded HAP program. While government purchased HAP homes are being sold, with the proceeds being added back into the funding pool, it is possible that there are still not enough funds available to cover the losses military members face on the sale of their properties.

Related: http://twlv.net/hZ6RmV

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