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March 2014
Pacific Arts Plaza, 675 Anton Boulevard, First Floor
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Dear Rachel,

People who lost their homes in foreclosure during the housing crisis might be eligible for some relief thanks to a recent settlement with several major lending organizations. Read more about the settlement and other unfair mortgage lending practices.

Social Security Disability Income & Supplemental Security Income
According to the State of California Employment Development Department, an estimated 5.9 million Californians have a disability. Those who are disabled and cannot work may be able to get benefits from the social security administration (SSA). There are two different programs available for those with long-term disabilities. Although the basic requirements for SSI and SSDI are different, each program has the same definition of disabled and has strict limits on when a person is considered disabled enough to receive benefits. Those who suffer from physical disabilities may be eligible for benefits Continue reading.

You sign on the dotted line and take the keys to your new house. In the blink of an eye, the keys are snatched back through no fault of your own. Foreclosure fraud is a scam that threatens millions of vulnerable homeowners, yet most of these lending practices are legal under existing law. While 10 major lenders accused of foreclosure abuse recently struck a deal with federal regulators, the scammers are still out there. Because owning a home is a lifetime investment, You Should Know how to protect yourself against mortgage fraud. Go here.



The Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates more than $10 billion in mortgages were originated with fraudulent data in 2010. Particularly concerning is that the schemes are ever-adapting to modifications in lending practices. 

Source: Mortgage Fraud Report - 2010 U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation
According to a 2001 report, U.S. borrowers lose $9.1 billion annually to predatory mortgage lending practices. Many of these practices are legal under existing law.

Source: Quantifying the Economic Cost of Predatory Lending (Download), Coalition for Responsible Lending
Typically a mortgage lender will not start foreclosure until you have missed several payments. At 120-days past due, your lender can legally start foreclosure proceedings against you. 

Source: At Risk of Foreclosure, National Council on Aging (NCOA)

HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agencies

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development publishes a list of approved agencies that provide counseling on buying a home, renting, defaults, foreclosures and credit issues. Search for a specific agency in your state for detailed information. 

Foreclosure Laws State-by-State

For consumers facing foreclosure, the National Consumer Law Center includes an interactive map that surveys state-specific foreclosure laws.

Federal Trade Commission Offers Tips to Consumers

Having trouble paying your mortgage? Scammers are targeting homeowners facing foreclosure by promising fraudulent help. The Federal Trade Commission gives the following pointers on recognizing the signs of a foreclosure scam.

Big Banks Limit Rights Through Checkbook Agreements

A new study confirms that the majority of big banks are using forced arbitration clauses in account agreements to limit access to justice.

Continue story

Talking the Issues

Check out podcasts featuring topics from past issues of You Should Know and subscribe to future shows via iTunes or RSS feed.

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