New York To Freeze Student and Medical Debt Payments
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New York To Freeze Student and Medical Debt Payments

New York Attorney General Letitia James
Letitia James circa 2013 (Wikimedia Commons)

New York Attorney General Letitia James and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have announced New York State will not be collecting student or medical debt in an effort to help citizens during the coronavirus outbreak.

“Effective immediately, I’m temporarily halting the collection of state medical and student debt owed to [New York State] that was referred to my office,” James said in a tweet Tuesday. “In this time of crisis, I won’t add undue stress or saddle [New Yorkers] with unnecessary financial burden.”

In a follow-up tweet, James provided a link for New Yorkers with “non-medical or non-student debt owed to the State of New York” to apply for collections to be paused due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Cuomo added to James’ tweet Tuesday, saying all collections would be suspended for at least 30 days.

“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,” Cuomo added in a statement. “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.”

According to James, the freeze impacts 165,000 individual debts. James also added that after the 30 days expires, she will reassess the situation and determine whether the freeze needs to be extended.

The coronavirus outbreak is affecting millions across the country and is already leading to layoffs. President Trump, who said the outbreak could last through the summer, is working on a plan to make direct payments to citizens. The outbreak has lead to more than 241,000 cases and more than 10,000 deaths across the world and has affected everything from the stock market to food shopping.