FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is the New Jersey Hardest Hit Fund Program (NJHHF)?
New Jersey’s Hardest Hit Fund (NJHHF) program is funded through a federal grant from the United States Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund. The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) is the official administrator of the program for the State of New Jersey.
New Jersey’s Hardest Hit Fund program consists of the NJ HomeSaver and NJ HomeKeeper programs.
New Jersey HomeSaver offers eligible homeowners up to $50,000 in financial assistance to help bring their household monthly payment to an affordable level through a refinance, recast, or permanent modification of the first mortgage loan.
New Jersey HomeKeeper offers eligible homeowners up to $48,000 in financial assistance to cover arrearages and/or monthly mortgage payments (including principal, interest, taxes and insurance) for up to 12 months.
How do I apply for assistance?
To apply for NJ Hardest Hit Fund assistance, use our online application system. Please have your mortgage loan information and financial information available.
If you are attempting to reapply, please contact 1(855)-647-7700 or 609.278.7660 for assistance.
Am I eligible?
An applicant must (1) occupy the subject property as their primary residence, and (2) have a qualified hardship supported by a completed and signed Hardship Affidavit.
The property must (1) be located in New Jersey, (2) not be abandoned, vacant, condemned or uninhabitable, (3) be a one- to three-family residential property, a condominium unit, or a manufactured home that is on a foundation permanently affixed to real property owned by the homeowner and secured by a real property first mortgage loan. Co-ops are ineligible.
The mortgage must (1) be a first lien mortgage*, (2) have a current unpaid principal balance no greater than $429,619 for a one-unit property or $550,005 for a two- or three-unit property (which includes the interest bearing principle and any outstanding non-interest bearing forbearance balance from a previous modification), and (3) be delinquent or at risk of imminent default.
*Home equity lines of credit (“HELOCs”) are not eligible for assistance even if they are in first lien position.
Additional eligibility criteria exist depending on the individual program.
What is an eligible hardship?
Hardships that may qualify homeowners for assistance include:
- An involuntary loss of employment income
- A reduction in household income due to underemployment or other demonstrated financial hardships including medical, divorce, disability or death.
Applicants are required to provide a hardship affidavit and may also be required to provide additional documentation on the cause of the hardship.
How long does the approval process take?
Processing times may vary depending on the volume of applications received during a given week. Please allow up to 8 weeks for processing of your application. Applicants should submit the required documents in a timely manner to avoid additional processing time.
Can I reapply if I previously received or am currently receiving HomeKeeper or HomeSaver assistance?
Yes, it is possible to receive additional assistance. While there is an overall benefit cap of $98,000 per household, you cannot reapply to receive assistance from a program that you previously or are currently receiving assistance from and you can only receive assistance from one program at a time.
If I qualify for assistance, do I have to pay it back?
NJHHF assistance is provided in the form of 0% interest rate, non-amortizing (no monthly payments), forgivable, subordinate 10 year loan. After the fifth year of the closing date of the loan, the loan amount will be forgiven at a rate of 20% per year, to be forgiven in full at the end of the tenth year.
All or a portion of the unforgiven loan funds will be due and payable from the net equity proceeds upon sale or transfer or refinance of the property (except for refinances for a lower rate and/or shorter term) or if you cease to occupy the property as your primary residence prior to the end of the tenth year.
If the property is sold and does not generate sufficient funds to repay all or a portion of the loan, the portion of the loan remaining unpaid after the proceeds are applied will be forgiven.
I received a 1098-MA tax statement from NJHMFA. What is this document?
The 1098-MA provides you and the IRS with the dollar amount of financial assistance that your mortgage servicer received on your behalf from any NJ Hardest Hit Fund programs.
NOTE: NJHMFA does not provide tax advice to homeowners regarding benefit assistance. Please consult a tax professional regarding possible tax liability. Homeowners may obtain additional information from the IRS regarding their determination of tax liability for Hardest Hit Fund programs at http://www.irs.gov/publications/p17/ch23.html
I received a privacy notice from NJHMFA. What is this document?
Under Regulation P of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (“GLBA”), NJHMFA is required to provide our borrowers with initial and annual notices regarding our Agency’s privacy practices.
What should I do if I have additional questions regarding the program?
Contact New Jersey’s Hardest Hit Fund Program at 1-855-647-7700 or 609-278-7660 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.