Unemployed homeowners cannot count jobless benefits as income when applying for mortgage modifications if they have loans backed by Fannie Mae. That could greatly limit their ability to get a long-term reduction in their monthly payments.
Because the jobless benefits can't be considered permanent income, the lender will instead evaluate troubled borrowers for forbearance plans of up to six months. The new guidelines, released Tuesday, will take effect Nov. 1.
"We don't want to set up borrowers to fail," said Amy Bonitatibus, Fannie Mae spokeswoman.