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Tool helps unemployed get loan mods

HAMP program requires 9 months of benefits

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A new Web-based tool can help workers who have lost their jobs demonstrate that their unemployment checks will be large enough and last long enough to allow them to qualify for a mortgage loan modification.The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), one of the Obama administration's main foreclosure prevention initiatives, allows laid-off workers to obtain loan modifications -- but only if loan servicers can determine that borrowers have at least nine months of unemployment benefits remaining.In the past, unemployment insurance typically lasted no more than 26 weeks, or about 6.5 months. But because the recession has made it more difficult to find work, Congress has passed provisions that extend unemployment benefits to last as long as 79 weeks -- about 20 months.Whether workers are eligible for that much coverage depends on the level of unemployment in their state and their individual circumstances.Further complicating the issue is that there are three different unemployment pr...