2 Senators question effects of a reverse mortgage proposal

Isabel Santos says she spends her evenings huddled over stacks of foreclosure notices on her parents’ home./CreditJim Wilson/The New York Times

By Matthew Goldstein | The New York Times

Advocates for the elderly persuaded federal housing officials two years ago to offer more rights and protections to the spouse of a borrower who takes out a reverse mortgage and later dies.

Now there is concern that a small wording change in the Trump administration’s proposed budget request for the Department of Housing and Urban Development could undo some of those protections — potentially increasing the chances that a surviving spouse who did not sign the mortgage documents could lose a home in a foreclosure.

Two United State senators sent a joint letter to Ben Carson, the secretary of HUD and Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and the Budget two months ago, seeking clarity on the proposed wording in the budget request. The two — Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, a Nevada Democrat — asked whether the agency was seeking to reverse the earlier policy change.

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