Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Coming up for air, part 2

Don't faint, Sarah!

I thought I'd update on our credit card situation and the state program I'm trying to qualify for to help us get straightened out again.

1. Credit cards. We still have only 5 plans in place, but the others I'm working with have been appeased as much as possible for the moment. I'm almost stunned to be able to report that almost every rep has been very pleasant and understanding as I explain our situation and the application process for the state program, some to the point of venturing out into chit-chat. I think they are equally stunned that I'm willing to talk to them at all (not thrilled, but willing) and that I thank them for calling at the end of the conversation. That surely doesn't happen often.

One interesting revelation came this morning. Before our recent trip to visit our daughter, I lined up several draft payments to keep some of the creditors content in my absence. This morning one rep called, mentioning that one of our three accounts (Bank of America) hadn't had a payment in a while. I went straight to my notes, telling him about the payment scheduled for this past Saturday. He said he could find nothing, so I then gave him the confirmation number I'd been given. Still nothing. By the time I quit asking why I'd have a confirmation number with no payment (which didn't show up when I checked our bank online), he was apologizing profusely, assuring me that he'd checked all three accounts to see if it had been credited to one of the other two. Nope. He asked if I'd like to make another payment to be drafted 5-30; after I questioned him a few times about the chance of a double draft (catastrophe!), he promised me it would not be drafted twice. He had been so nice during the entire course of the conversation, I agreed, and he gave me a different kind of confirmation number.

2. State program. Right before we left to see our daughter, I talked to a representative with the regional housing authority regarding the North Carolina Foreclosure Prevention Fund mortgage payment program. I'd seen an article in a local online newspaper, and my curiosity got the best of me. When I saw that we met the preliminary qualifications, I made one call, then another. On the second round, I explained our circumstances: primarily, our two side businesses' dwindling gusto, my husband's unexpected medical expenses and mind-boggling commuting expenses, and two college graduations last May. When I was asked our income, I then explained about the retirement benefits in our name but currently used by someone else. No surprise, he said we made way too much to qualify, and that the government wasn't going to look at the actual circumstances (i.e., that according to the agreement, we won't be entitled to the money until the actual recipient is deceased. We're in no hurry.).

I refused to be deterred and mentioned the substantial amount of the taxes owed for 2010 because of the retirement. Amazingly, that little fact put us close enough to qualifying to proceed.

The rep rattled off a list of 'homework,' which I tackled in full force yesterday. Documents, numbers, documents, numbers, repeat. Whew. I had a few questions for the rep I called in the beginning, and she said I'm ready for the hour-long phone interview. I'm waiting for Rep #2 to call and schedule it.

Once that's over, hubby and I will both go in with documents and sign papers, then it will all be shipped off, hopefully landing on the desk of someone in a really good mood and able to tackle it right away.

Some of the highlights of the program:

The state received $275 million recently from the United States Department of the Treasury’s “Hardest Hit Fund” for the North Carolina Foreclosure Prevention Fund mortgage payment program. The program offers zero-interest loans up to $24,000 to cover mortgage payments and related expenses for up to 24 months while a person searches or trains for a new job. Those living in the Greater Hickory area where unemployment rates are some of the highest in the state could be eligible for up to $36,000 over 36 months.

The loan is forgiven if a person stays in their house for 10 years or more, according to information from the Western Piedmont Council of Governments.

But you don’t have to be on the verge of losing your home to get help.

Sherry Long, director of community development for Western Piedmont Council of Governments, said if you’ve fallen behind on mortgage payments because you’ve lost your job, the loan can help catch up those payments. You also can seek help if you have are unemployed or are earning less than you have in the past, or are facing a temporary financial hardship such as a divorce, serious illness, or death of a co-signor.

The program also will pay property taxes, homeowner’s insurance or homeowner’s fees, even if it’s not part of your mortgage, Long said, if you qualify.

The total amount owed on the home can’t be more than $275,000, Long said. No fee is charged to apply for the help, she said
.

So that's that. I'll report when I learn more....

Jenny

7 comments:

  1. Hi Jenny,

    I hope all goes smoothly and quickly with your application. That would certainly be a huge help!!!

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  2. It sure would, Little Lamb! While I've got plenty of gripes about some state programs, I know that there are plenty of beneficial ones.

    And I do believe that we're good candidates, as providing a 'plan' for reviving sagging businesses is one of the requirements. I've got plenty of plans, just no time or energy after dealing with debt matters to instigate them!

    Thanks for the support! I'll update :)

    Jenny

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  3. Wow, I hope this works out for you. Actually State programs can be easier to deal with than Federal. Just be perseverant and don't give up. I have always complained about the low State wages my husband makes (and they are Low), but in the past year we have qualified for hearing aid assistance ($6000.00) for my husband because of our low wages. I am also on a T-biologic low dose chemo that runs $2000.00 a month. I tried injections every other week but could see progression so I really needed a weekly dose. My State insurance would pay $1000.00 a month but another State agency stepped in because of my husbands low income as a State employee and paid the other half of the prescription. I don't like being beholden to the State but my husband has to hear, and I would kinda like to live. Good reasons. Keep us posted on this!

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  4. This sounds really complicated and so much paper work but if you qualify it would be an enormous help to you. I wish you luck with the application process and interview!

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  5. Out My Window, I'm so glad you and your husband are able to benefit from the state program, although I'm sorry it's for medical reasons.

    We'll add some prayers to the pot for you both!

    Jane, I wasn't familiar with some of the required paperwork, but I'm on a mission, and since the article 'magically' appeared in front of me, I'm taking it seriously. Ironically, the office closest to me wasn't even aware the article appeared in the paper, but one of the reps I'm working with said the article was helping them. I'm glad to be of service and hope they feel the same! Thanks for the positive vibes!

    Jenny

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  6. Wow the process seems really intense but it's a great idea!

    Good luck!

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  7. I hope it works out for you. I know it must be really hard for you but you are doing a good job even if you are digging with a fork. Just keep at it and smile :)

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