Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Delaware Mortgage Relief Program?
Delaware Mortgage Relief Program provides financial assistance to Delaware homeowners who are at risk of displacement due to unpaid of housing-related obligations such as mortgage payments and property charges.
Who is eligible for the Delaware Mortgage Relief Program?
Delaware homeowners may be eligible for assistance from the Delaware Mortgage Relief Program if they meet the following:
- The homeowner, borrower, or spouse must have had a pandemic-related financial hardship that occurred after January 21, 2020, such as lost income or increased expenses.
- Household income must be at or below 150% of Area Median Income (AMI).
- Own and occupy their home in Delaware as their primary residence.
- Delinquent by at least thirty (30) days, including past due payments during the forbearance period.
What is area median income (AMI)? How can I find my AMI?
AMI is the midpoint income for a specific area. 50% of families in the area earn more than the median and 50% earn less than the median. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sets different levels of AMI for areas across the country by household size.
AMI is used to determine eligibility for affordable housing programs at the federal and local levels. For the Delaware Mortgage Relief Program, applicants must be at or below 150% Area Median Income (AMI) or 100% of the median income for the United States, whichever is greater.
See below for maximum household income based on your household size and county or find your AMI here.
What specific documents does the homeowner need to provide with the application?
- Identity Documentation – Copy of the front of your Delaware Driver’s License or State-issued ID
- Copy is valid, legible and the License or State-issued ID has not expired
- If the License or State-issued ID does not show your property address, you must provide a current utility bill showing the name and address of applicant and/or complete a statement of why a different address is being used
- Income Documentation – Current income for all household members 18 years and older. The following documents will be accepted as income verification (only applicable documents are required):
- Tax Return – Most recent filed tax return
- Paystubs – Two most recent paychecks or paystubs or letter from employer showing payment rate for the pay period, hours worked in the pay period, employer name, year-to-date gross earnings
- Self-Employment and Gig Economy Jobs – YTD or most recent quarterly profit and loss statement, all pages of statements for all bank accounts (business and personal) for the same current year and three-month period, and most recent tax return with all schedules or transcript
- Pension or Annuity – Pension or annuity benefits statements or most recent bank statement within the last 60 days showing deposit amount
- Social Security – Social Security benefits award letter or annual notice of benefits or 2020 SSA-199 statement or most recent bank statement showing deposit amount dated within the past 30 days
- Worker’s Compensation Benefits Statement – Worker’s Compensation benefits statements dated within the past 30 days
- Rental or boarder income – Current lease and most recent two months of bank statements showing rental income deposits
- Alimony or Child Support – Court order or written agreement and two most recent months of bank statements showing support income deposits
- Unemployment Benefits Statement – Unemployment benefits most recent statements (Unemployment benefits are only included if the benefit is available for at least 6 additional months)
- VA Benefits Statement – VA Benefits statements or most recent bank statements showing deposit amount
- In the event a household member has no income, a signed self-attestation from the household member to attest zero income will be accepted.
- Waivers or exceptions – DSHA may provide waivers or exceptions to this documentation requirement as reasonably necessary to accommodate extenuating circumstances, such as disabilities, practical challenges related to the pandemic, or a lack of technological access by homeowners.
Property Verification Mortgage Documentation – Mortgage documentation and foreclosure status
If you are seeking assistance on other delinquent housing related expenses:
- Copy of your mortgage related documents
- Current mortgage statement for all mortgage loans on the property
- Correspondence from the lender/servicer regarding current loss mitigation
- Foreclosure Sale Date Letter, foreclosure filing or other foreclosure documentation from the Courts
Pandemic related financial hardship and Third-Party Authorization
- If your property taxes are not included in your mortgage payment (also known as escrow), copy of your most recent property tax statementBilling statements
- Delaware Mortgage Relief Program Hardship Attestation Form and supporting documentation Completed Third Party Authorization Form
What can the Delaware Mortgage Relief Program funds be used for?
How much Delaware Mortgage Relief Program assistance can I apply for?
Each Homeowner will be eligible for up to $50,000 to be used only for the homeowner’s primary residence.
What about escrow advances paid by loan servicers for property charges?
Frequently, a mortgage servicer will collect property tax and insurance payments from the homeowner and maintain them in an “impound” or “escrow” account. An “escrow advance” happens when the mortgage servicer pays additional funds on behalf of the homeowner when there are insufficient funds in the escrow account to satisfy the payment.
If eligible for program assistance, escrow advances would be paid to the servicer under the Fresh Start Mortgage Grant Program.
Is assistance from the Delaware Mortgage Relief Program provided to homeowners as a grant or a loan?
The Delaware Mortgage Relief Program funds are issued in the form of non-recourse grants, that homeowners do not need to repay.
How are Delaware Mortgage Relief Program payments made?
Once a homeowner’s application is approved, the payments are made directly to the mortgage lender/servicer or appropriate entity (municipality, etc.) to bring the homeowner current on their payments.
Payments are made directly to the vendor by either ACH/direct deposit or check.
Can the Delaware Mortgage Relief Program help if the Homeowner has already moved out of the property?
No. In order to be eligible for assistance, the homeowner must currently occupy the home as their primary residence.
What types of properties are eligible for Delaware Mortgage Relief Program assistance?
- Single-family (attached or detached) property
- Condominium unit
- 1 to 4-unit property where homeowner lives in a unit as their primary residence
- Manufactured home permanently affixed to real property and taxed as real estate
- Mobile home not permanently affixed to real property
I don’t have internet or computer access. How do I apply for Delaware Mortgage Relief Program?
Please visit the public library in your community to access a computer and the internet. Typically, computers are available to use for free. Additionally, Homeowners can appoint a representative to submit the online application on their behalf.
My application was denied for Delaware Mortgage Relief Program. What should I do now?
If I am approved for Delaware Mortgage Relief Program, how quickly can I receive assistance?
After you submit your application, it will be carefully reviewed to see if it meets program eligibility requirements. Mortgage details will be confirmed with your mortgage servicer. If any documents or information is missing from your application, you will be contacted and asked to provide it. Once your application review is completed, you will be notified whether you qualify for program assistance. Application review times can vary. Homeowners can log into the portal at any time to check the status of their applications.
Can I be reimbursed for a payment(s) I have already made, but could not afford?
No. Reimbursement for past payments is not allowable. Program assistance is only available to help homeowners catch up on late payments.
What if I can’t afford to continue making my monthly mortgage payments?
If you qualify for the program and you can continue making your monthly mortgage payments after receiving program assistance, then the program will provide funding to “Reinstate” your mortgage. “Reinstate” means pay the total amount past due (not to exceed the maximum amount of assistance.)
If you qualify for the program and you can’t afford to continue making your monthly mortgage payments after receiving program assistance, then the program may seek to work with the loan servicer to make a financial contribution towards a “Loan Modification.” Please refer to the Policy Manual for details about the Loan Modification with HAF Contribution Program. A “Loan Modification” is a change made by the loan servicer to the terms of a homeowner’s existing mortgage (e.g., to reduce the monthly payment by reducing the interest rate or extending the term.) If you cannot afford to continue making your monthly mortgage payments, you are encouraged to contact a housing counselor and/or your loan servicer to explore available options.
What is forbearance? Am I eligible for Delaware Mortgage Relief Program assistance if my loan is in forbearance?
Forbearance is when your mortgage servicer allows you to pause or reduce your mortgage payments for a period of time. Homeowners who are in forbearance are encouraged to contact their loan servicers to explore options to exit forbearance. Homeowners who are exiting forbearance are eligible for Delaware Mortgage Relief Program assistance.
Why does the application ask about my ethnicity and race?
This information is requested by the federal government to track performance and equal access to assistance. You are not required to provide this information but are encouraged to do so. If you do not wish to provide this information, please check the appropriate box.
What’s the difference between foreclosure and forbearance?
Forbearance is when your mortgage servicer allows you to pause or reduce your mortgage payments for a period of time. Foreclosure is a legal process of taking possession of a mortgaged property when the mortgagor fails to keep up their mortgage payments.
Am I eligible for the program if my house is in foreclosure?
Yes, the Delaware Mortgage Relief Program was established to mitigate financial hardships associated with the pandemic by providing funds for the purpose of preventing homeowner mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities and displacement of a homeowner after January 21, 2020.
Do I have to pay a fee to apply for the Delaware Mortgage Relief Program?
No. Under no circumstances may a homeowner applicant be charged an application fee or charged a fee for third party services to apply.
I filed for bankruptcy. Am I still eligible for the Delaware Mortgage Relief Program?
Yes, applicants in any stage of bankruptcy may be eligible for assistance through the program. The two primary factors to be mindful of are, some mortgage servicers may require approval from the court to participate. Additionally, the program will not know if approval is required until after connecting with the mortgage servicer.