NEW YORK (NEWS10) – New York Attorney General Letitia James and Gov. Cuomo announced that the state will renew, for the ninth time, an order to halt the collection of medical and student debt owed to the state of New York that has been specifically referred to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) for collection — with limited exceptions — through Jan. 31, 2021.
In response to continuing financial impairments resulting from the spread of COVID-19, the OAG will again renew orders, taking effect tomorrow morning and going through Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021. 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.
Millions of New Yorkers, like Americans across the nation, 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 more than 4.5 million in New York state alone.
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
- 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.