Last month, the government took steps to try to ensure millions of Americans wouldn’t lose their homes, cars and credit due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which back a significant portion of the U.S. mortgage market, have stated they will provide mortgage forbearance of up to 12 months, waive penalties and late fees, and suspend the reporting of delinquencies (nonpayment of mortgage payments) as part of their response to the coronavirus crisis. In addition, they’re halting foreclosures and evictions through at least May 17 and are offering loan modifications that either lower or keep payments the same. Find out more details at and (You can find out whether the two companies back your mortgage there as well.)

Ginnie Mae backs mortgages issued by FHA, Veterans Affairs and the Agriculture Department. As we were writing this, it is unclear what sort of help will be offered to homeowners, so check the website for details.

For those borrowers who also have federal student loans, the Department of Education will stop wage garnishments and collection actions and will refund $1.8 billion that has been collected to student loan borrowers. In addition, the government has set student loan interest rates to zero percent and will allow borrowers to opt-in to administrative forbearance for 60 days without penalty or accruing interest.

Ilyce Glink is the author of “100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask” (4th Edition). She is also the CEO of Best Money Moves, an app that employers provide to employees to measure and dial down financial stress. Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Contact Ilyce and Sam through her website,

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