Cuomo and attorney general renewing suspension of state debt collections

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FILE – In this April 26, 2018, file photo,
Then-New York Public Advocate Letitia James, right, speaks with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at an event in New York, April 26, 2018. (Bebeto Matthews / AP)

NEW YORK (NEWS10) – New York’s governor and attorney general renewed an order halting state debt collection for the third time on Tuesday.

Attorney General Letitia James and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that collection of medical and student debt referred to the Office of the Attorney General is suspended for an additional 30 days, until July 16. The policy also suspends accruing interest for those accounts.

The Office of the Attorney General collects debts owed to the state from settlements and lawsuits, with over 165,000 current matters fitting the criteria, including:

  • Medical debt owed to the five state hospitals and the five state veterans’ homes
  • Student debt owed to SUNY campuses
  • Debt related to oil spill cleanup, removal, property damage, breach of contract, and other fees owed to state agencies by certain individuals, small business owners, and homeowners

The original order freezing collections was announced on St. Patrick’s Day, and its extensions come as coronavirus continues to impact wallets statewide. Nearly 3 million New Yorkers have filed for unemployment since mid-March.

After the latest 30-day period, the Attorney General’s Office will once again reassess, and may issue another extension. James’s office is also accepting applications to suspension other types of state-owed debt.

Fill out an application online or call (800) 771-7755 to apply for debt relief. Collections for other, non-medical or non-student debt—owed to New York and referred to the Attorney General for collection—may be eligible to be temporarily halted.

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