Citing impacts from the spread of the coronavirus disease, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced yesterday that the state has renewed, for the 10th time, an order to halt the collection of medical and student debt owed to the state of New York.
The order — first issued in March of 2020 and renewed in April, in May, in June, in July, in August, in September, in October, in November, and in December — was made to ease the financial burdens for many workers and families by halting the collection of medical and student debt owed to the state of New York and referred to the OAG for collection — with limited exceptions — through February 28, 2021.
According to the announcement, the OAG collects certain debts owed to the state of New York via settlements and lawsuits brought on behalf of the state of New York 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 (SUNY) 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.
The temporary 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.
Attorney General James said New Yorkers with non-medical or non-student debt owed to the state of New York 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 complete an online application or get more information via the OAG’s coronavirus website or hotline at 800-771-7755.