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I Am a 63 Year Old Senior And Struggling to Make Ends Meet. – Carol

“Dear Steve,

I am a 63 year old single woman who has been living in a condo that I have been paying a mortgage on for almost 27 years.

I am presently collecting social security and have a small part time job. I have very little savings which I am using to pay bills. I am struggleing.

In April of 2003 I was laid off of a job that I had for 13 years. I was 56 years old at the time and have been unable to find a full time job with benifits. In 2008 my savings were diminishing and I have been having a hard time paying my bills.

Earlier this year I started talking to bankruptsy attorneys. In New Jersey where I live a person can not declare Chapter 7 bankruptsy if they have over $20,200 in personal assets. I have about $100,000 equity in my home and less than $8, 000 due on the mortgage.

One attorney advised me that being I was at least 62 years old I could apply for a reverse mortgage. The closing costs on this mortgage were about $7,500 and the younger you are the less you get out of it. For example a person 72 years old could get more than a person that is 62 years old.

I have contacted numerous attorneys and non-profit groups and no one can help me. The non-profits wanted a monthly payment of several hundred dollars a month which I can not afford. I can not afford to go for Chapter 13. As I spent months looking for someone to represent me to my creditors my debt was going to collection agencies and I have been sued. There may be liens on my home.

As I am not eligible for Chapter 7 in New Jersey and I can not afford the monthly payments on Chapter 13 I can not get any kind of representation or support in New Jersey. I have contacted NJ State Legal Aide and they will not represent me. The problem is that I don’t feel that I can go this alone or use “Do It Yourself” plans that a lot attorneys and non profits think that people can do. I really feel that I need someone that is legally qualified and will handle my case with understanding and respect.

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As a New Jersey resident who does not qualify for Chapter 7 and can’t afford the monthly payments on Chapter 13, will not be represented by the state legal aide what help and support is there for someone in this situation?


Dear Carol,

I’m curious, is the reason you can’t afford a Chapter 13 bankruptcy simply that your current income leaves you next to nothing to apply towards any debt repayment?

Do you have any heirs you would leave your home to in case you passed away? I’m wondering if you are worried about trying to preserve as much equity as possible for someone else to inherit?

What bills are you currently paying?

How much is your mortgage payment and what zip code do you live in?

If you could give me the answers to these questions I can better assist you.

Please update me on your progress by posting updates here in the comments section of your question. I’m very interested in how this works out for you.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

P.S. Be sure to read ‘The Secret of Surviving Through Difficult Economic Times. What I Learned On My Journey‘.

About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.


  • I am a 73 year old man with no job. My girlfriend kicked me out after 22 years. I have a gun collection, tool collection, guitar collection, watch collection, deep sea fishing equipment collection, and a coin collection all combined worth of
    $ 75,000.00. I have no car. I am in okay shape and was planning to go on a Elk hunt this November. The girl didn’t think so ??? When I say girl I mean girl, a cute little female. My preference is two legs, two arms, any size tits and likes to kiss and have sex. I don’t care if you snore, fart or anything after I am asleep. I can cook, I am good at it if you like steak and potato. You make the salad. I am religious, Christian ordained Minister. I fish and hunt a lot. I never lie, cheat or fool around with other women. My new job will to be your man and live happily ever after. I hope .

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