New York Attorney General Letitia James and Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on November 4, 2020, that the State will continue the suspension of its debt collection efforts of medical and student debt through the remainder of the calendar year. The suspension, which was originally instituted during March 2020 as part of the state’s response to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, has been renewed on a monthly basis since the outbreak. This eighth renewal extends past the end of the following month, providing relief to debtors through the end of the year – at which point the Attorney General will “reassess the needs of state residents” to determine whether another continuation of the suspension is necessary.
The temporary halt of the state’s collection efforts applies to medical and student debt that has been specifically referred to the Attorney General’s office for collection. The Attorney General’s office estimates that more than 165,000 matters are currently affected by the suspension, which includes medical and student debts owed to the state through settlements and lawsuits brought on behalf of the state of New York and state agencies. In addition to suspending the state’s active collection efforts, the temporary policy also automatically suspends the accrual of interest and the collection of fees.
The suspension does not apply to non-medical or non-student debt owed to the state of New York. New Yorkers who owe other types of debt to the state, and whose debts have been referred to the Attorney General’s office for collection, may apply separately for a discretionary suspension.
We will continue to monitor and report on any development related to this issue.