Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bank of America Sued for Requiring Proof of Payment of Social Security Disability Benefit for Home Loans

Bank of America is facing a disability lawsuit after the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) found out that it violated federal laws when it discriminated home buyers with disability by requiring proof of payment of social security disability benefits.

In statement released by the HUD, it claims that the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank imposed unnecessary and annoying requirements to borrowers relying on social security disability benefits to qualify for their home loans.

The statement further explained that to secure a home mortgage loan with the said bank, a disabled borrower must first provide physician statements to qualify for home mortgage loans, as well as proof of continuance of the borrower’s social security disability benefits.

In the lawsuit filed by two borrowers in Michigan and one in Wisconsin, the borrowers attested that the bank required them to submit medical information and documentation regarding their disability together with their proof of continuance of their disability pay to qualify for a loan.

Aside from being a violation to the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), holding home buyers with disabilities to a higher standard just because they rely on disability payments is unlawful, according to HUD assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity, John Travina.

He added that Mortgage companies may verify income and have eligibility standards, but may not single out disabled home buyers to deny or delay financing if they are otherwise eligible.

The case against the said bank has been forwarded to the US Department of Justice. However, in a statement released by the bank, it says that there is no basis for the allegations regarding disability discrimination in connection with home mortgage lending.

Disabled homebuyers should not be treated unfairly. They must enjoy the same benefits and opportunities as what the others experience such as the said home mortgage loan.

Under the FEHA and the Federal Title I of the Americans with Disabilities of 1990, discriminating based on disability is strictly prohibited. Take note that disability discrimination does not only apply to employees in the workplace but also with other people like the borrowers who filed the lawsuit against the bank.