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I’m 69, Disabled, and In Debt. Am I Fucked?

Question:

Dear Steve,

ME: 69-year-old single male living only on Social Security-no other money available.

Former Radiology Tech for 28 years; a catastrophic illness put me on Disability in May 2001, where I remained until I turned 65 and the SSDI flipped to SSA.

I live in the state of New York in Cold Spring, Putnam County (about 1 hour north of NYC on The Hudson River in subsidized Senior Housing paying 33% of my Adjusted Gross Income ($483 this year).

Total debt: approx. $8000 Credit Card Debt I tried saving my ass with credit cards, and you see how well that turned out! Just one part is my Credit Score dropped from 680 to 540 and nose-diving quickly.

TODAY: I am sold on declaring bankruptcy, but I am so poor I don’t know whether I can even afford a lawyer. What do I need from you? Steer me to the best inexpensive lawyer I can find. Best place to find that affordable lawyer today?

Is there an online source to access inexpensive lawyers to handle my bankruptcy case? Again, I live in Cold Spring, NY.

My $2200 a month Social Security is approx. $1000 LESS than the total amount I owe each month (and penalties are climbing). I am under medical care and have been since 2001 for Major Depressive Disorder, Agoraphobia, and Degenerative Disc Disease with Osteoarthritis. Summation: I’M FUCKED (and in no GOOD way !)

You have my tacit approval to publish my plight on your website. Better yet, light up my story in NEON in Times Square NYC for all the world to see!

LASTLY: Do you have two bucks I can “borrow” for a cup of coffee? Failing that, may I “borrow” $8000 to zero out my debt before I die?

Last brilliant question: Do I have to join a union to become a Drug Dealer to make my fortune? Instead of the occasional humorous commentary, this is A SERIOUS SUBMISSION REQUIRING YOUR HELP. Thank you, and be safe and healthy.

See also  Financial Concerns for People With Long-Term Illnesses

Gregory

Answer:

Dear Gregory,

Ironically I know Cold Spring reasonably well. This is because I used to live in Putnam County.

Your situation feels hopeless, I’m sure. And while bankruptcy is always a legal option to discharge your debt, you might be a better candidate for the low-cost or free help offered by the nonprofit law firm HELPS.

Given your situation and income, they can help you to understand how they may be able to run interference for you with your creditors to deal with your debt.

If you are comfortable with this strategy, you sound like a good candidate for their solution rather than legally eliminating your debt through the courts.

However, that is a decision only you can make.

Please get in touch with HELPS and then come back and post an update in the comments and let me know what you think.

Sincerely,


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.

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Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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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.
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