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OAR COVID Resource Hotline FAQ’s
New number for unemployment help
Oregonians who have filed for unemployment benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program now have a number to call with questions: 503-370-5400.
Until now, there has been no phone support for the new program, which extends unemployment benefits to independent contractors, gig workers and the self-employed for the first time.
Apply for PPP Loan Forgiveness
REALTORS® who have received loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) created by the CARES Act should know their loans may be forgiven if the funds are used to maintain their payrolls and pay other specified expenses. The Treasury Department and Small Business Administration recently released the application form and instructions for loan forgiveness. The forgiveness forms, instructions, and worksheets can be found here.
PPP borrowers must apply for loan forgiveness directly with the lender that processed the loan. A comprehensive overview of the program and a helpful FAQ can be found on this webpage from NAR. Oregon REALTORS® seeking assistance or guidance are encouraged to call the OAR COVID-19 Support Hotline at 503-587-8884.
Tips to comply with Governor Brown’s Executive Order 20-25 Safe and Strong Oregon
- Statewide Requirements
- Phase 1 Guidelines
- Face Coverings
- Open houses
These tips are meant to be helpful to OAR members trying to prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus and comply with the Governor’s Executive Order. They do not represent official guidance from the government and they may not be comprehensive.
REALTOR® Coronavirus Assistance FAQ Updated May 4, 2020 – 12:30pm
Download PDF version – Benefits FAQ OAR 5.04.20
REALTOR® Coronavirus Assistance
For the latest news and updates from OAR on COVID-19 related issues visit https://oregonrealtors.org/know/oar-covid-updates/. We are doing out best to keep this FAQ current but we will always post breaking news at https://oregonrealtors.org/know/oar-covid-updates/.
Also: NAR has launched the Center for REALTOR® Financial Wellness to help REALTORS® navigate the financial hardship of COVID-19. Check out the tools and videos available at https://www.nar.realtor/center-for-realtor-financial-wellness?cid=FIN-WEL-566. This includes videos on SBA loans and unemployment benefits.
Note: These FAQs are intended to supplement FAQs developed by NAR. Please consult the NAR FAQs.
Coronavirus CARES Act SBA Loans FAQs
Coronavirus Unemployment Assistance FAQs
Coronavirus Mortgage and Personal Finance FAQs
Note: These FAQs are not legal advice. If you are looking for guidance on how to operate your business or navigate transactions during COVID-19 refer to the many tools that OAR and NAR have put on their website. If you have specific transaction related questions and are a legal hotline subscriber, contact the legal hotline.
Note: We are updating our FAQs as new information becomes available. There is still significant uncertainty about many programs including unemployment insurance and SBA loans. We are doing our best to provide you what we know, but things change quickly. The most direct source of information will be the agency administering the program (the Oregon Employment Department in the case of unemployment benefits and the Small Business Administration, or your lender, in the case of SBA Loans).
- Unemployment Benefits
- Small Business Loans and Grants
- Paid Sick and Paid Family Leave
- Relief from Paying Mortgages
- Student Loan Relief
- Tools to Help Comply with Stay Home, Save Lives While Working
- Property Management Questions
- Additional Help from NAR—Right Tools, Right Now
As of 4-28-20 the Oregon Employment Department is accepting applications for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for the self-employed/independent contractors and gig workers. Go to Go to https://govstatus.egov.com/ui-benefits/CARES for the latest information and instructions on how to apply.
What were the primary changes to unemployment benefits included in the CARES Act?
- Created the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program to provide unemployment benefits to the self-employed, independent contractors and gig economy workers.
- Created the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program that extends unemployment benefits by 13 weeks, from 26 to 39 weeks.
- Created the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program (FPUC) which provides an additional $600 per week to individuals who are collecting unemployment benefits.
Are the unemployment insurance benefits for independent contractors available yet?
Yes. Go to https://govstatus.egov.com/ui-benefits/CARES for the latest information and instructions on how to apply.
How do I apply for Pandemic Unemployment Insurance for independent contractors?
You apply through the Oregon Employment Department, Unemployment Division at https://govstatus.egov.com/ORUnemployment_COVID19. The website has the application, instructions a video and frequently asked questions.
How much unemployment benefit will be available to independent contractors?
Go to https://govstatus.egov.com/ORUnemployment_COVID19. This question is answered in the FAQ.
The minimum PUA benefit is $205 per week. You could be eligible for an increased benefit amount between $205 and $648 per week. Your weekly benefit amount is 1.25 percent of your total base year earnings. It is net earnings for self-employed workers, but gross earnings for other employees. Your payment will be at least the minimum weekly benefit ($205) and no more than the maximum weekly benefit ($648) identified under PUA.
If you are eligible for PUA, you will receive at least the minimum weekly benefit amount by self-certifying your income (you do not need to submit additional proof of income, but you will need it in case you are audited). To be eligible for a higher weekly benefit amount, you must:
- have earned more than $16,480 in the 2019 tax year, and
- Provide proof of income for your most recently completed tax year (2019 for most people).
You can use the form 196 PUA to estimate how much you may be eligible to receive. If you are eligible for PUA, you will also receive an additional $600 in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefits per eligible week from the week starting March 29 through the week July 25, 2020. This does not mean you will automatically receive FPUC for every week from March 29 through July; your eligibility will still need to be determined.
Will the State use gross income or net income from self-employment to determine my benefit amount (if seeking more than the minimum amount)
Net Self-Employment Income.
Are PUA benefits included in the individual’s gross income for federal income tax purposes and subject to federal income tax withholding?
Yes. PUA benefits are included in the individual’s gross income for federal income tax purposes and subject to federal income tax withholding if the individual elects to have federal withholding deducted from the individual’s PUA payments. An individual will receive Form 1099-G to file with his or her income tax return
I’ve filed my claim, but I have not received confirmation that it was received. What should I do?
The Employment Department is overloaded with applications. Most people who filed their PUA in the first week it was open have not yet received confirmation. You can try to call the Employment Department, although the wait times are very long. Keep records of your claim in case there is a problem with processing. Save a copy of your signed application. If you send via email, save a copy of the email you sent. If you send via fax, send a copy of the fax transmittal receipt. If you send via mail, you may want to consider sending via certified mail or other form of mail that allows you to obtain a receipt.
I’ve filed my claim. Do I need to file weekly claims and if so, how do I do it?
You must file a weekly claim. The weekly claims form is available at https://govstatus.egov.com/ui-benefits/CARES. The week runs from 12:00AM Sunday to 11:59AM Saturday. You must submit your weekly claims form during this window, for the prior week. We recommend submitting as soon as possible beginning on Sunday, for the prior week. Weekly claims can be submitted in the same ways that the initial applications can be submitted—secure email, fax or mail.
Do I need to submit my weekly claim with the same method (email, fax, mail) I submitted my initial claim?
We do not know the answer to this question and the Employment Department has not indicated.
For how long will I be able to receive unemployment benefits
As long as one of the qualifying circumstances applies to you, up to 39 weeks, but not later than December 21, 2020. Benefits will be retroactive to when you first qualified, but no earlier than February 2, 2020. However, the extra $600 payment is only available March 27 through July 31, 2020. Go to https://govstatus.egov.com/ui-benefits/CARES and read the FAQ for more information.
Will benefits be retroactive to when I stopped working?
Yes. Under the CARES Act, PUA benefits are to be backdated to when the individual began experiencing unemployment due to COVID-19 but no earlier than February 2, 2020. However, the additional $600 FPUC benefits only became available on March 29,th so that amount would not be able to be backdated further than that. Go to https://govstatus.egov.com/ui-benefits/CARES and read the FAQ for more information.
What circumstances will allow me to qualify for benefits?
Federal Guidance was released in early April and can be found at https://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/attach/UIPL/UIPL_16-20.pdf, and updates to that guidance including answers to questions at https://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/attach/UIPL/UIPL_16-20_Change_1.pdf. The guidance lays out the following circumstances that would qualify independent contractors for unemployment benefits. The Oregon PUA application available at https://govstatus.egov.com/ui-benefits/CARES has a series of questions designed to determine if you qualify under any of these circumstances. The application includes text boxes that allow you to explain your circumstance in greater detail which may help you fit into one of the categories. We encourage you to utilize these text boxes.
General Criteria for All Applicants
- Individuals are only entitled to benefits if they are no longer working through no fault of their own.
- The individual must self-certify that he or she is otherwise able to work and available for work, as provided under state law, except that the individual is unemployed, partially unemployed, unable to work or unavailable for work due to at least one of the following categories described below.
Specific Qualifying Circumstances
- The individual has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis
- A member of the individual’s household has been diagnosed with COVID-19
- The individual is providing care for a family member or a member of the individual’s household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19
- A child or other person in the household for which the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency and such school or facility care is required for the individual to work
- The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency (including the Governor’s Stay Home, Save Lives Order).
- The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because the individual has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 (including high-risk individuals who have been advised by their health care provider to stay home to avoid exposure).
- The individual was scheduled to commence employment and does not have a job or is unable to reach the job as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency
- The individual has become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19
- The individual has to quit his or her job as a direct result of COVID-19
- The individual’s place of employment is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- The individual meets any additional criteria established by the Secretary for unemployment assistance under this section including:
- an individual who works as an independent contractor with reportable income and is unemployed, partially employed, or unable or unavailable to work because the COVID-19 public health emergency has severely limited his or her ability to continue performing his or her customary work activities, and has thereby forced the individual to suspend such activities. This includes if an emergency state or municipal order restricting movement makes continued operations unsustainable and the independent contractor is forced to suspend operations as a result.
What if I qualify under the criteria but I didn’t earn any income in 2019?
According to the Department of Labor Guidance on this issue, if an individual has insufficient wages (or no wages) from employment or insufficient net income (or no net income) from self-employment in the applicable PUA base period (2019), the individual is entitled to the minimum PUA, if the individual meets the requirements under section 2102(a)(3)(A)(ii)(I) of the CARES Act-he or she must be unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work because of one of the COVID-19 related reasons. The individual must have an attachment to the labor market and must have experienced a loss of wages and hours or was unable to start employment following a bona fide job offer.
I am self-employed and still operating, but my business has significantly slowed because of COVID-19. Am I eligible for PUA?
Yes. An independent contractor may be eligible for PUA if he or she is unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work because of one of the COVID-19 related reasons listed in section 2102(a)(3)(A)(ii)(I) of the CARES Act. This includes an independent contractor who experiences a significant diminution of work as a result of COVID-19. If you are receiving insurance payments for your business, or you receive payment to your business for work performed in other weeks, please report those on your weekly claims. While you may still be eligible, any business income can impact how much you are eligible to receive under PUA.
If I can still work from home can I receive unemployment benefits?
PUA is generally not payable to individuals who have the ability to telework with pay. However, if you are teleworking but COVID-19 has significantly reduced your hours and income, you may be eligible for some amount of benefit.
If I’m receiving PUA based on the need to stay home with my child whose school is closed, will I receive these benefits once the school year ends?
Once the school year ends the school will no longer be considered closed for COVID-19 reasons and this will no longer be a qualifying reason to collect unemployment. However, if your child’s day care is also closed in the summer because of COVID-19 and you must stay home to care for your child, you would still be eligible.
If I qualify for unemployment benefits based on one of the enumerated qualifying circumstance above, but then my circumstances change and I no longer qualify that reason, but instead I qualify for a different reason enumerated above, can I still continue receive benefits?
Yes, as long as when you file your weekly claim you indicate that you qualify under one of the qualifying circumstances.
If I am receiving paid sick or family leave benefits can I receive unemployment benefits?
Generally, no. However, individuals receiving paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits for less than their customary work week may still be eligible for PUA at a reduced amount. Also, individuals who are unpaid leave may qualify for PUA if they meet the other qualifications.
If I am still able to work under the Governor’s Stay Home, Save Lives order, or I am called back to work as the state reopens, but I chose not to because of concerns over COVID-19, do I qualify for unemployment benefits?
You will not be able to qualify for benefits unless you qualify under one of the circumstances listed above, such as having been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine as a result of such concerns.
What information will I need in order to fill out the application?
In addition to questions designed to determine if you are self-employed, and to determine whether you meet one of the qualifying circumstances above, the application has
- Social Security Number
- Complete work history for the past 18 months including self-employment information and—if you were an employee for any period of time in the past 18 months—employer names, addresses, phone number and start/end dates
- Bank account and routing number for direct deposit
- If claiming more than the minimum benefit amount (and in case you are audited) one or more of the following documents to prove income
- 2019 IRS Schedule C, K-1, SE, F
- 1099-Misc, K, INT (2019)
- 2019 tax return
- 2019 W-2 (not for self-employment)
- State agency wage records, pay check stubs, bank receipts, business records, ledgers, contracts, invoices, and billing statements
Can I receive both unemployment compensation AND one of the new forgivable SBA loans? Nothing in the CARES Act specifically prohibits it, but If the SBA loan was used to pay yourself a wage, salary or other income, then that income would have to be reported to the unemployment department and would reduce or eliminate the amount of unemployment insurance benefits that you qualify for. You cannot “double dip” with respect to income you are receiving for yourself. We cannot advise you as to which benefit you should apply for. This will depend on your individual circumstances.
Once I apply, how long before I receive benefits?
The Employment Department says that the time from an initial claim being filed to the first payment for is currently about three to four weeks.
How do I answer these questions on the unemployment application?
OAR cannot provide guidance as to how to answer a particular question. However the Employment Department website has instructions on how to fill out the application, a video and FAQs on their website at https://govstatus.egov.com/ui-benefits/CARES. You can also reach out to the State Employment Department for answers to these questions although waiting times are very long. You may also wish to talk to your peers who havehad experience answering the same questions.
In general, the application is trying to determine whether you qualify based on one of the COVID-19 related circumstances above and also whether you qualify for PUA (independent contractor/self-employed) or instead if you qualify for regular unemployment benefits (employee).
In order to qualify for PUA, applicants must meet one of the qualifying COVID-19 related circumstances and not be eligible for regular unemployment benefits.
If you are unsure on a particular question related to a COVID-19 circumstance impacting your work, use the text boxes to explain your situation.
What methods can I use to apply?
Information on how to apply is available at https://govstatus.egov.com/ui-benefits/CARES. Applicants can apply for PUA through a secure email link, fax or mail.
I’m an employee rather than an independent contractor. What is available to me and how do I apply?
If you are an employee and not an independent contractor and out of work due to COVID-19 regular unemployment benefits are available to you and you should apply at https://govstatus.egov.com/ORUnemployment_COVID19. The extension of benefits to 39 weeks and the additional $600 per week are also available to employees.
SMALL BUSINESS LOANS
IMPORTANT: As of April 27, the SBA is issuing loans again after receiving additional funds from Congress. The SBA is accepting PPP applications through participating lenders and is processing EIDL applications already in the pipeline prior to April 15. The SBA is only taking new EIDL applications for agriculture-related businesses.
The FAQ below only covers a few questions.
The best and most up-to-date information on the SBA Loan Programs is available through the National Association of REALTORS®. The NAR FAQ is available here: https://www.nar.realtor/political-advocacy/coronavirus-sba-cares-act-faqs.
Also, check out the NAR Center for REALTOR® Financial Wellness for videos and tools to help you navigate SBA loans and other financial issues: https://www.nar.realtor/center-for-realtor-financial-wellness?cid=FIN-WEL-566
What loans are available from the SBA? Can I apply as an independent contractor? Do I have to pay them back?
There are two programs created or expanded as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance.
Note: The SBA is processing existing applications that were in the pipeline prior to April 15 and is only accepting new EIDL loan applications for agriculture-related businesses.
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) were an existing SBA program that offer low-interest loans for small business that experience an economic hardship as the result of a declared disaster. The limit on these loans is $2 million. Under the CARES Act, applicants can receive a $10,000 forgivable (doesn’t need to be paid back) advance on their EIDL loans which are supposed to be disbursed within three business days of applying (we have heard that it is actually taking much longer). EIDL loans can be used for providing paid sick leave to employees unable to work due to COVID-19, maintaining payroll, meeting increased costs due to supply chain disruptions, rent or mortgage payments, and repaying debt obligations. Independent contractors can apply and use the funds to pay themselves, and the application takes about 15 minutes to complete. A helpful video that walks through the application can be found here https://vimeopro.com/user11779390/covid-19-grant. .Applications for the EIDL loan and advance are taken directly through the Small Business Administration at https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/economic-injury-disaster-loan-emergency-advance.
Paycheck Protection Program:
Businesses can get an amount up to 2.5 times their monthly payroll, up to $10 million (based on previous year’s expenditures/income) which can go toward mortgage interest, rents, utilities, and payroll costs for businesses. The loans are for a maximum 2-year term and have a 1% interest rate. The loans are forgivable if at least 75% of the amount goes to maintaining payroll over the 8 weeks following receipt of the loan and if the business keeps the same number of employees on staff. Independent contractors can apply and receive forgivable loans to pay themselves income. You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. In short – apply through your local lender, who will then receive funds through the SBA for the loan. Consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program. You can also find a list of lenders here. The generic application form can be found at https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program-ppp. Lenders may have their own application form.
Should I apply for PPP or EIDL?
The SBA is currently processing EIDL applications that were in the pipeline prior to April 15 and only accepting new applications for agriculture-related businesses so this is not an option for most REALTORS® at this point.
Are there specific rules and guidlines for independent contractors applying for PPP loans?
On April 14 the SBA issued new guidance related to loan applications including for independent contractors. You can find it here, https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/2020-04/Interim-Final-Rule-Additional-Eligibility-Criteria-and-Requirements-for-Certain-Pledges-of-Loans.pdf. This was also discussed on OAR’s April 15, 2020 webinar with the Oregon Bankers Association which you can view for CE credit in the OAR learning portal for CE credit beginning Thursday, April 16th, 2020, or on You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rp6O-_kEJN4. Also, visit the NAR Center for REALTOR® Financial Wellness for tips and videos from REALTORS® who have successfully applied: https://www.nar.realtor/center-for-realtor-financial-wellness?cid=FIN-WEL-566.
Can I use the SBA loans to pay myself or just employees?
Yes. You can use the SBA loans to pay yourself.
I started filling out the loan application. How do I answer these questions?
I’m sorry, we are unable to help you answer specific questions on the loan application. If you are an independent contractor please refer to guidance from the SBA here https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/2020-04/Interim-Final-Rule-Additional-Eligibility-Criteria-and-Requirements-for-Certain-Pledges-of-Loans.pdf.
Also, check out the NAR FAQ and the Center for REALTOR® Financial Wellness which includes videos from REALTORS® who successfully obtained PPP loans https://www.nar.realtor/center-for-realtor-financial-wellness?cid=FIN-WEL-566.
How do I find an Oregon lender for the PPP program?
We recommend that you start by contacting banks or credit unions in your community that you have an existing relationship with. Senator Jeff Merkley is maintaining a list of PPP lenders in Oregon including those who are taking applications from new and/or existing customers here: https://www.merkley.senate.gov/download/ppp-lenders-in-oregon. In addition, you can reach out to a Small Business Development Center (https://bizcenter.org/) and they will provide free assistance and guide you to lenders (keep in mind they are probably very busy right now). You should also reach out to your peers to learn about where they may have had success obtaining a loan. If you have had trouble applying for a loan at a particular bank, we recommend that you try another bank.
What information will I need to successfully complete an application?
Please refer to the NAR FAQ which includes a list of information you will need. https://www.nar.realtor/political-advocacy/coronavirus-sba-cares-act-faqs. Independent contractors should refer to the guidance put out by SBA here: https://www.sba.gov/document/policy-guidance–ppp-interim-final-rule-additional-eligibility-criteria-requirements-certain-pledges-loans. Also, visit the NAR Center for REALTOR® Financial Wellness for tips and videos from REALTORS® who have successfully applied: https://www.nar.realtor/center-for-realtor-financial-wellness?cid=FIN-WEL-566.
Can I get an SBA loan and unemployment benefits?
While nothing in the CARES Act prohibits someone from receiving both an SBA loan and unemployment benefits, If you use the SBA loan to pay yourself/your employees income, then that income will count against your/their eligibility for unemployment benefits. The purpose of the SBA loans is in part to provide capital for businesses owners and independent contractors to pay themselves and their employees so that they do not have to access unemployment benefits. However, if you use the SBA loans for purposes other than paying yourself, you may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits for yourself.
I heard that the SBA loans are out of money. Is this true? What If I already applied for a loan?
On April 16 the SBA EIDL and PPP programs are out of funds and stopped taking applications. Congress appropriated more funding ($320 billion for PPP and $60 billion for EIDL) on April 23. As of April 27 the SBA is taking PPP applications (through lenders). EIDL applications that were already in the pipeline are being processed on a first come, first served basis but new applications are only being taken for agriculture-related businesses.
NOTE: The best and most up-to-date information on the SBA Loan Programs is available through the National Association of REALTORS®. The NAR FAQ is available here: https://www.nar.realtor/political-advocacy/coronavirus-sba-cares-act-faqs.
PAID SICK LEAVE AND PAID FAMILY LEAVE
Do I qualify for paid sick or paid family leave?
Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in March. The law created Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) benefits and Emergency Paid Family Leave (EPFL) benefits that are available to both employees and independent contractors/self-employed individuals.
EPSL (Sick Leave) benefits are available to individuals who are subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID–19; who have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID–19; who is experiencing symptoms of COVID–19 and seeking a medical diagnosis; who is caring for an individual who is subject to quarantine; who is caring for his or her child if the school or place of care of the child has been closed, or the childcare provider of such child is unavailable, due to COVID–19 precautions; or who is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.
EPFL (Family Leave) benefits are available to employees who are unable to work (or telework) due to a need to care for their child(ren) when a school or place of care has been closed, or when the regular child care provider is unavailable due to a public health emergency with respect to COVID-19.
For more details on what circumstances qualify for these benefits see NARs summary here https://www.nar.realtor/political-advocacy/impact-of-h-r-6201-families-first-coronavirus-response-act-on-nar-members and the Department of Labor’s guidance here https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic.
Oregon also has a paid sick leave law and an unpaid family leave law. To learn how these programs may apply during COVID-19, visit https://www.oregon.gov/boli/pages/coronavirus-and-workplace-laws.aspx. These state programs are not available to independent contractors.
How do I access paid sick and family leave benefits?
If you are an employer or an employee, work with your HR department and payroll provider. If you are an independent contractor, the benefits will be available via a tax credit again your income when you file your taxes.
For more details see NARs summary here https://www.nar.realtor/political-advocacy/impact-of-h-r-6201-families-first-coronavirus-response-act-on-nar-members and the Department of Labor’s guidance here https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic.
If I receive paid sick leave or paid family leave, can I also apply for unemployment benefts?
Pay that you receive as part of a paid sick leave or family leave benefit would be counted as income and depending on the circumstances could reduce or eliminate your available employment benefits.
If I qualify for both, should I apply for unemployment or paid leave?
We cannot advise you on the best approach to take.
I can’t pay my mortgage because I’m not working due to COVID-19. What relief is available?
Single-Family Homes and Condo Mortgage Forbearance: Borrowers with federally-backed mortgages on properties designed for 1-4 families can request 180 days forbearance from their mortgage servicer if they are unable to pay due to COVID-19, and then up to an additional 180 days if the crisis persists. Mortgage servicers are required to grant the request upon attestation of the borrower’s hardship without additional documentation and with no fees, penalties, or interest beyond the amounts scheduled or calculated as if the borrower made all contractual payments on time and in full under the terms of the mortgage contract.
Multifamily Mortgage Forbearance: Borrowers with federally-backed loans for multi-family properties (more than 4 units) can request (verbally or in writing) forbearance from their mortgage servicer for 30 days for COVID-19 related financial hardships. Servicers are required to document the hardship and provide the 30 day forbearance, along with up to two additional 30 day forbearances (for a total of 90 days) if the hardship persists and the requests are made at least 15 days prior to the expiration of the current forbearance period. To qualify, multifamily borrowers must comply with the CARES Act moratorium on evictions (see OAR Guide “COVID-19 Information Affecting Property Owners) at https://oregonrealtors.org/know/oar-covid-updates/coronavirus-guides/.
Foreclosure Ban: Individuals who take advantage of the forbearance described above cannot be foreclosed on during the forbearance period. Additionally, mortgage servicers of federally-backed mortgage loans on properties designed for 1-4 families are also prohibited form initiating judicial or non-judicial foreclosure proceedings for any reason for 60 days beginning March 18, 2020.
Non-Federally Backed Loans: Many private banks and mortgage providers are offering similar relief. Check with your lender.
If I take mortgage forbearance, how will I be asked to repay the money?
It’s important to remember that forbearance is not forgiveness and you will be asked to repay the money. For loans backed by the FHFA (Fannie and Freddie), borrowers will not be required to pay back the forbearance amount in a lump sum. They will be able to work out an arrangement with their loan servicer to:
- Set up a repayment plan;
- Modify the loan so the borrower’s payments are added to the end of the mortgage; or
- Set up a modification that reduces the borrower’s monthly mortgage payment.
Learn more about repayment for FHFA-backed loans at https://www.fhfa.gov/Media/PublicAffairs/Pages/No-Lump-Sum-Required-at-the-End-of-Forbearance-says-FHFAs-Calabria.aspx.
Borrowers with FHA, USDA and VA loans will also not be required to pay a lump sum at the end of forbearance.
However, there is nothing currently preventing a lender requiring lump-sum repayment if the loan is not a government subsidized or a government-backed loan. For all loans, borrowers will need to work out the specific repayment provisions with their mortgage servicer. Borrowers should stick up for themselves in this process and try to achieve the most favorable terms they can. It will be a negotiation.
For more information on mortgage forbearance and repayment visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/guide-coronavirus-mortgage-relief-options/.
Also, see OAR Guide “COVID-19 Information Affecting Landlords” for additional information here: https://oregonrealtors.org/know/oar-covid-updates/coronavirus-guides/
NAR also has an FAQ here. https://www.nar.realtor/political-advocacy/coronavirus-mortgage-and-personal-finance-faqs
STUDENT LOAN RELIEF
What type of student loan payment relief is available?
- No wage, tax or social security garnishment and no collection actions for at least 60 days
- Suspension of required student loan payments, without interest, through September 30
Talk to your student loan servicer for details.
INSURANCE PREMIUM RELIEF
What type of insurance premium relief is available?
The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services has ordered all insurance companies to provide a grace period for payments, postpone renewals/cancellations and extend deadlines for reporting claims. Learn more at: https://dfr.oregon.gov/insure/health/understand/Pages/coronavirus.aspx.
Also, NAR has compiled resources specific to health insurance here https://www.nar.realtor/political-advocacy/coronavirus-quick-reference-guide-on-health-insurance-coverage.
ASSISTANCE COMPLYING WITH STAY HOME, SAVE LIVES WHILE WORKING AND SHOWING HOUSES
What tools are available to help me comply with Stay Home, Save Lives while still working?
The first step is to talk with your Principal Broker about what policies, strategies and tools your brokerage is implementing in light of COVID-19 and the Governor’s orders.
Also, OAR has put together several guides and tools that hopefully can be of assistance. These include
- COVID-19 Information Affecting Landlords
- COVID-19 Financial Relief for Individuals and Businesses
- Tips for Operating During COVID-19
- COVID-19 Buyer and Seller Advisory Updates
- OREF COVID-19 Addendum
- Work Verification Notice
You can find these at https://oregonrealtors.org/know/oar-covid-updates/coronavirus-guides/
NAR has also produced guides that you can find at https://www.nar.realtor/coronavirus
Refer to OAR’s Guide to Information Affecting Property Owners at https://oregonrealtors.org/know/oar-covid-updates/coronavirus-guides/. If you are a legal hotline subscriber, you can also contact the legal hotline if you have questions about your particular situation.
ADDITIONAL HELP FROM OAR AND NAR—RIGHT TOOLS, RIGHT NOW
The NAR Right Tools, Right Now program is offering hundreds of other benefits to NAR members during these trying times. This includes two months of telehealth access, free webinars, education courses, market reports, and digital tools for transactions and marketing. Check out the program at https://www.nar.realtor/right-tools-right-now.
Also, OAR is offering free and discounted continuing education courses. Visit https://onlineed.com/portal/oar?code=covid19.