Well, I figured it was a long shot. After four months, the bank finally made their decision about modifying our mortgage. No. It appears that we, A) technically don't make enough money to pay our mortgage, therefor they won't lower our payments (please explain that one), and B) despite the fact we "don't earn enough" have managed to make the mortgage payment every month, which means we don't qualify for assistance because we're not behind on our payments.
So if we stopped paying our mortgage, would they modify our loan?
I keep hearing so-called industry experts saying things like "talk to your bank before you get in trouble with your mortgage." Yeah, did that. Now what? They aren't interested in talking to anyone, and the programs that exist only help people with jobs, not people who are unemployed, or people who have those crazy, ballooning mortgages who can't afford the current payment. We were smart enough to stay clear of those, instead buying a house we could afford and locking in a good mortgage rate. It's always been a tight budget, but if we were working, we could afford our house. And we can't sell. The prevailing rent around here is the same as our mortgage, so why lose our investment and sell the house?
A friend said we should try again because banks are probably like Social Security: they always turn you down for benefits the first time. I supposed there's no harm in trying, but I won't hold my breath.