One of the plaintiffs in an AARP lawsuit against the Department of Housing and Urban Development over reverse mortgage non-borrowing spouse rules is receiving help meeting his property tax payment—as the result of a public campaign.
Conducted through the online platform GoFundMe, a crowdsourcing outlet, the non-borrowing spouse, Robert Bennett of Annapolis, Md., was able to raise $13,000 from 150 individuals toward his cause, according to a report by The Capitol Gazette.
The campaign was launched by a private citizen, Bronwyn Belling, who was formerly employed by AARP in consumer education and heard of Bennett’s situation but had not met him prior to the campaign.
Named in a lawsuit filed by the AARP Litigation Foundation on behalf of several plaintiffs in 2011, Bennett remained in a home he had lived in with his wife before she passed away. His wife had been named on a reverse mortgage previously taken out in her name only.
The lawsuit was at first dismissed for lack of standing, but was brought back by AARP in a court of appeals and was ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the case. The plaintiffs were granted the ability to remain in their homes, while HUD later adjusted policy to reflect new protections for all new and existing non-borrowing spouses.
Even though he had been granted the ability to remain in his home, however, Bennett had not paid property taxes during the ongoing litigation, according to the Capitol Gazette report. The GoFundMe proceeds will be used toward paying off the outstanding payments.
Written by Elizabeth Ecker