Photo Courtesy of AG James’s Office
“By again renewing the suspension of state student and medical debt collection referred to my office, we are helping to ease the burden faced by so many individuals and families across our state,” NY Attorney General James said.
By Forum Staff
The State on Saturday again renewed, for the sixth time, an order to halt the collection of medical and student debt owed to NY that has been specifically referred to the Office of the Attorney General for collection for an additional 30-day period, State Attorney General Letitia James announced Friday.
In response to continuing financial impairments resulting from the spread of COVID-19, the OAG will renew orders again through Sunday, Oct. 4. After this period, the OAG will reassess the needs of state residents for another possible extension. Additionally, the OAG will accept applications for suspension of all other types of debt owed to the state of New York and referred to the OAG for collection.
James noted that the OAG collects certain debts owed to the State via settlements and lawsuits brought on behalf of the State and State agencies. A total of more than 165,000 matters currently fit the criteria for a suspension of State debt collection, including, but not limited to:
- Patients that owe medical debt due to the five State hospitals and the five State veterans’ homes;
- Students that owe student debt due to State University of New York campuses; and
- Individual debtors, sole-proprietors, small business owners, and certain homeowners that owe debt relating to oil spill cleanup and removal costs, property damage, and breach of contract, as well as other fees owed to State agencies.
James pointed out that millions of New Yorkers have been impacted—directly or indirectly—by the spread of COVID-19, forcing them to forgo income and business. Since COVID-19 began to spread rapidly across the country in mid-March, tens of millions of residents across the nation have filed for unemployment, including nearly 3.6 million in New York alone, James noted. The temporary debt-relief policy has also automatically suspended the accrual of interest and the collection of fees on all outstanding state medical and student debt referred to the OAG for collection, so New Yorkers are not penalized for taking advantage of this program, she said.
“Although New York has made tremendous strides in curbing the coronavirus, too many New Yorkers are still suffering from the financial impact of this pandemic,” the AG added. “By again renewing the suspension of state student and medical debt collection referred to my office, we are helping to ease the burden faced by so many individuals and families across our state.”
New Yorkers with non-medical or non-student debt owed to NY and referred to the OAG may also apply to temporarily halt the collection of State debt. Individuals seeking to apply for this temporary relief can fill out an application online or visit the OAG’s coronavirus website at ag.ny.gov/coronavirus#debt to learn more about the suspension of payments. If an individual is unable to fill out the online form, they can also call the OAG hotline at (800) 771-7755 to learn more.