The government has made changes to its Home Equity Conversion Mortgages program hoping it would lower the likelihood that borrowers would default on their mortgages and ensure the insurance program stayed solvent, according to a research brief by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

The changes were fueled by the mortgage crisis, which hindered retired individuals by reducing their ability to tap into home equity to help pay for health care or monthly bills.

The mortgage crisis put pressure on the government's program and on the borrowers because declining home prices meant that lenders couldn't recoup the full amount of the loan when houses were sold, requiring the government to make up the difference, the report said.

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