New House and Senate Bills Introduced to Amend FCRA in Response to the COVID-19 Crisis

Womble Bond Dickinson

Womble Bond Dickinson

On March 17, 2020, a bill was introduced in the United States Senate to amend the Fair Credit Report Act to prevent negative credit reporting during the COVID-19 crisis. Subsequently, on March 23, 2020, a similar bill was introduced in the United States House of Representatives.  Both bills are entitled “The Disaster Protection for Workers’ Credit Act.”

The Senate and House Bills seek to place a four-month moratorium on all negative credit reporting. Individuals who face continued financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis may be protected for a longer period beyond the four-months.  The Senate and House Bills also seeks to give consumers free and unlimited access to credit reports and credit scores for a year after the end of the crisis. Additionally, the House Bill will prevent negative information associated with medical debt incurred for treatment of COVID-19 from impacting consumers’ credit reports and credit scores. The House Bill is meant not only for the current COVID-19 crisis, but also for any future major disasters.

The Senate Bill, introduced by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), is currently before the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee. As of the posting of this article, a text of the bill has not yet been made public.

The House Bill, introduced by Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), has been referred to the House Committee On Financial Services.  As of the posting of this article, a text of the bill has not yet been made public.

We will keep our eye on these bills and provide any additional updates as they become available.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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