September 19th, 2012|
The U.S. Department of Justice accused the Bank of America Corp of violating federal laws by discriminating against mortgage applicants on the basis of disability, reports Huffington Post.
The Justice Department said that by requiring that those on Social Security Disability insurance (SSDI) provide letters from doctors to document that income, Bank of America violated the Fair Housing Act and Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
“Loan applicants with disabilities should not be subjected to invasive requests for medical information from a doctor when they are applying for credit,” said an assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s civil rights unit.
In February, the bank was charged with discrimination by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD referred the matter to the Justice Department.
The borrowers who filed the original complaints with HUD will receive $125,000 in compensation. The eligible mortgage loan applicants who were asked to provide doctors’ letters will be paid $1,000, $2,500, or $5,000.
To identify other possible victims and to improve the training of underwriters and loan officers, the bank has also agreed to hire an outsider to review 25,000 other loan applications.
Though the bank denies that it did wrong, the Bank of America changed its documentation policies during the HUD probe.
If you or someone you know needs help with Social Security Disability, contact the disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.