ALBANY – New York State has temporarily halted the collection of medical and student debt owed to the state for at least 30-days in an attempt to diminish the financial burden of the novel Coronavirus.
Governor Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Letitia James say in an effort to support workers and families the AGs’ office will halt the collection of medical and student debt owed to the State of New York and referred to the OAG for collection through April 15.
After the 30-day period, the government will reassess the needs of state residents for a possible extension. Additionally, officials say they will accept applications for suspension of all other types of debt owed to the State of New York and referred to the AG for collection.
“As the financial impact of this emerging crisis grows, we are doing everything we can to support the thousands of New Yorkers that are suffering due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Governor Cuomo said. “This new action to temporarily suspend the collection of debt owed to the state will help mitigate the adverse financial impact of the outbreak on individuals, families, communities and businesses in New York State, as we continue to do everything we can to slow the spread of the virus.”
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’ home;
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.
The temporary policy will also automatically suspend the accrual of interest and 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.
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 fill out an application online or visit the OAG’s coronavirus website 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 1-800-771-7755 to learn more.