The fate of the fourth round of stimulus checks is still uncertain, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get another stimulus payment. In fact, some can still get a little known or secret coronavirus stimulus check from the same relief package that gave $1,400 stimulus payment. However, this secret stimulus check is only for those who own a home.
Biden’s American Rescue Plan included $10 billion for a Homeowners Assistance Fund (HAF). This fund aims to offer assistance to homeowners with mortgage payments, property taxes, as well as utilities, insurance and homeowners association dues.
Unlike the stimulus checks, this fund doesn’t directly give assistance to homeowners. Rather, it provides the money to states, territories and tribes, which in turn can support those struggling to pay home-related expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
So, it is up to the states and other similar government bodies to distribute the relief money to those at risk of mortgage delinquency and default, loss of power or water, foreclosure, and displacement.
“These necessary actions will minimize foreclosures in the coming months, alleviate emergency shelter capacity, and mitigate potential COVID-19 infections,” the Treasury Department says about the HAF.
The Homeowners Assistance Fund provides at least $50 million for each state, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Tribes or Tribally-designated housing entities, as well as the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands are together eligible for $498 million. American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the territories of Guam are eligible for about $30 million each.
Who is eligible and how to apply?
To qualify for this stimulus payment, your income should be less than or equal to 100% of the median income of the area, or 100% of the national median income (whichever is more). Those who are “socially disadvantaged" will get priority.
Other requirements to qualify for the assistance are: you must own your home; your mortgage balance should be below $548,250 as of 2021; and you experienced financial hardships, such as a loss of job or income because of the pandemic.
Unlike the stimulus checks, you will have to apply for this stimulus payment. To apply, you need to visit your state’s housing agency website. Since each state would likely have its own procedures, the applicant will have to submit the required proof and documents asked by their state.
So, the first thing you need to do is find and contact your state or territory's HFA. You must then inquire if you qualify or not, and how to apply for the assistance.
Those who live in American Samoa need to contact the territory's Housing Trust Fund. If you are a member of a federally recognized tribe or are a native Hawaiian, you need to get in touch with the tribal government or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Native American Programs.