Which Lending Programs Does the IRA Discrimination Financial Assistance Apply To?
To be eligible for Discrimination Financial Assistance under the IRA, the discrimination must have occurred specifically in relation to USDA farm lending programs. Eligibility may depend on the nature of the loan and the setting in which the discrimination occurred:
- Direct Farm Service Agency (FSA) Farm Loans: DOES create eligibility. Discrimination occurring in connection with these types of loans does create eligibility for assistance.
- Non-Farm Loans at USDA: DOES NOT create eligibility. Discrimination in USDA programs that do not involve farm loans does not create eligibility. For instance, discrimination that happens in connection with a USDA housing loan will not be eligible for Discrimination Financial Assistance.
- Discrimination By a Private Lender for an FSA-Guaranteed Loan: DOES create liability. The IRA still needs to clarify whether discrimination by the private lender only (not the FSA) creates eligibility for assistance. It is likely that this type of discrimination will qualify, since if Congress wanted the IRA to apply only to USDA discrimination, it would have done so.
- Non-FSA Guaranteed Private Loans: DOES NOT create eligibility. Generally, discrimination by a bank or other lending institution on a non-FSA guaranteed loan will not qualify for Discrimination Financial Assistance.
As you can see, determining eligibility for Discrimination Financial Assistance will be a challenging task. A skilled attorney can help evaluate your legal rights and how to proceed with a claim.
Farmers feed the nation. In addition to the food and materials produced, the work farmers and landowners do tending the soil and ground helps balance the local environment and benefits the community. You should be valued for your contributions, not discriminated against due to personal characteristics. A lawsuit can help right past wrongs, and set new legal precedents so that such violations never happen again.
How Much Is Available for Claims?
There is $2.2 billion in total set aside for these claims, and up to $500k is available per claim. Questions are arising as to whether the $2.2 billion will be enough to distribute for all those who need the financial assistance. It is possible that Congress could grant USDA more funds for the program, but there is no guarantee of this.
The IRA states that funding for the Discrimination Financial Assistance program must be used by September 31, 2031.
We do not advise to wait to file you claim as funds will likely be exhausted well before this date!
Thus, the most important thing you can do if you believe you qualify for assistance is to act quickly. You should reach out to a lawyer for advice and guidance before the time runs out and you miss out on your opportunity to receive discrimination financial assistance.