01/11/2012 04:35 pm ET Updated Mar 12, 2012

Freddie Mac Offers Extension to Unemployed Homeowners

If you're one of the many unemployed homeowners struggling to make your mortgage payments, there might be help. One of the government's largest lenders, Freddie Mac, has announced that they're allowing their unemployed borrowers to extend the amount of time that their payments can be suspended or reduced.

In the past, Freddie Mac offered this same opportunity to unemployed borrowers, but for a period of three months. The revised plan extends that time frame to six months, with the possibility of a twelve month extension. This move doubles Freddie's previous extension, which maxed out at six months.

In addition, the companies that serviced Freddie Mac's mortgage loans previously had to seek approval for extensions. They are now being given the right to forbear the payments from their unemployed mortgage holders without approval, making the process less complex and faster.

This extension recognizes that it is taking longer than three or six months for out of work homeowners to secure employment and bring their finances and payments up to date. It has the potential to affect ten percent of the company's mortgage holders. And it's a move that appears to be catching steam, as Fannie Mae, another government mortgage leader, has indicated it will take similar steps.

This action by Freddie Mac recognizes that the high unemployment rate is a major factor in home foreclosures. While it is a step in the right direction, the policy change is being implemented at a time when the nation's unemployed figures have fallen. The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that America's unemployment rate has fallen to 8.5 percent. This decline is attributed to an increase of 200,000 jobs in December, 2011; however, it's likely that a portion of those jobs are a seasonal and temporary increase that occurs annually during the busier holiday shopping season.

Unemployed homeowners who have secured a mortgage through Freddie Mac should contact their lender to take advantage of the lender's extension. For some, it could provide the necessary reprieve to save their home until they can obtain employment and get back on their feet.

Regardless of whether you apply for a loan modification on your own, through an attorney, or a non-profit agency it is vital that you are as prepared as possible and have the right information to be successful in your fight to save your home, and being your own best advocate is a must, because YOU care the most about saving your home from foreclosure.

Anna Cuevas, known as "America's Loan Modification Guru," has guided thousands of Americans in keeping their homes from foreclosure. A popular blogger (, Cuevas has been called a "superhero of the loan modification industry" and has been nominated for CNN's Heroes. She is the #1 bestselling author of SAVE YOUR HOME Without Losing Your Mind or Money.