Do Government Loan Modifications Work?

Government says nearly 1 million helped, homeowners say process is too long.

Feb. 18, 2010 — -- The Treasury Department says it's proud of the fact that more than 900,000 people have now been given temporary loan reductions, with three months to get bank approval to make those reductions permanent. New numbers show 116,000 of them have done just that.

But many struggling homeowners say the process to qualify still takes way too long -- assuming they can even get the temporary help at all.

Richard and Liz Admire are running out of time, literally.

Diagnosed with terminal cancer, Richard has been forced to cut back at work and lose half his salary, making mortgage payments almost impossible.

"I've never been through anything like this. Don't know anybody else that's been through anything like this before either," he told "Good Morning America."

They've been requesting a loan modification from Chase since August -- writing letters, calling and reaching out to investigative groups like for help. But while they're eligible according to government guidelines, they say Chase has declined their request.

"They refuse to talk to us," Liz said. "We cannot get past collection department."

Chase told "GMA" the company is "working with the Admires and reviewing their file."

The Admires said they haven't seen any help from Chase.

Expert: Government Effort Nowhere Near 'Size and Scope' Necessary

The help for homeowners program is definitely helping people at a quicker pace than when it started and more than a million people are saving an average of $500 a month.

But at this point the modifications are only permanent for about 4 percent of the three to four million people the program was supposed to help.

Bank of America, for instance, has only finalized 12,761 permanent modifications out of a total of more than one million eligible borrowers. Wachovia Mortgage has made 330 permanent modifications out of 86,461 eligible homeowners. And so far, about 60,000 applicants have been disqualified overall.

The Admires said they've done everything by the book and they don't understand why they can't get help.

"Emotionally I get frustrated. I just don't feel Chase has done their job," Richard Admire said.

The Treasury Department advises homeowners to reach out to counselors on their Web site who can help with paperwork and applications.

Click here to find out if you qualify for the Home Affordable Modification Program.