If you fall behind 60 days or more on your mortgage payments, the bank or mortgage company is allowed to send you a letter telling you that you are in default and letting you know about the HEMAP program. As soon as you get this letter, you should call one of the housing counseling agencies listed in the notice and schedule a meeting to make an application.
You must attend a meeting within 33 days after the date on the notice if you want to apply for HEMAP.
At the meeting, be prepared to explain the circumstances beyond your control (illness, layoffs, etc.) that caused you to fall behind. The housing counselor will help you complete your application and will send it to the HEMAP program. If you apply for HEMAP on time, the bank or mortgage company cannot start a foreclosure case against you for up to 60 days while HEMAP reviews your application. Even if you are beyond the 33 days you can still apply for HEMAP, but doing so will not automatically stop the foreclosure action.
If the HEMAP program turns down your application, don't give up. You have the right to appeal, simply by sending a letter to the address
listed on the denial letter. Send your letter right away, because there is a 15-day deadline.
If you appeal, a hearing will be scheduled. Most hearings are conducted by telephone. You will need to document why you qualify for the HEMAP program. Make sure you line up all the evidence and witnesses that will show that you qualify. It is a very good idea to have a lawyer for this hearing. If you lose the hearing, you have the right to appeal to a court, but the court will give a great deal of weight to the hearing officer's ruling.
If your mortgage is an FHA purchase money loan, you are not eligible for the HEMAP program, but you might qualify for FHA's Loss Mitigation Program. Also, if foreclosure on your home is put on hold by bankruptcy proceedings, you can still apply for HEMAP.