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Would Filing for Bankruptcy Hurt My Ability to Qualify for SSI? – Ave

“Dear Lewis,

$22K credit card debt-making payments on time
$3K hospital debt-not making payments, in collections
$320K mortgage-$2K monthly payments – making on time

Unemployed and filing for SSI due to hand injuries that are growing worse as I age, rendering me in pain all the time & unemployable.

Spoke with Fast Track debt relief, and not signed up, checking reviews herein scares me to sign with any company. Considering filing for bankruptcy for the credit card & hospital debt, not the mortgage.

Would filing for bankruptcy adversely effect my qualifying for SSI?

Is filing for bankruptcy put in legal ads of local newspaper for all to see?


Dear Ave,

I am sorry to hear about your debt problems, but more importantly, your health problems affecting your ability to work.

Filing for bankruptcy should not affect your application or ability to get Social Security Disability.

As to the printing of your name in newspapers, if you file bankruptcy, it is extremely rare – depending on where you live. I know in my area, the newspapers are going out of business themselves. Therefore, they don’t have the money to print countless pages listing all the individuals filing for bankruptcy. Usually, publications limit the bankruptcy information to large corporations that file.

The filing of your bankruptcy is public record. But usually unlikely that anyone will find out unless you tell them or bump into them at your creditor’s meeting (which means they are filing too).

One other thing to consider is: if you have no unexempt assets (based on exemptions for where you live), you only have SS income going forward, and you don’t expect to ever gain assets, additional income, nor need credit in the future, you can just not pay the credit cards at all. SS income is exempt.

I hardly ever recommend this course of action unless the client is past retirement. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to never need credit again in your life – and that is what that course of action requires.

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As to debt settlement, I am sure you have poked around this site enough to know that a majority of those programs are scams and leave you worse off than before.

Lastly, just to clarify… ALL debt must be listed in bankruptcy, including your mortgage. It is a misconception to say: “I am not filing bankruptcy on my mortgage”. The mortgage must be listed on the petition, but you tell the lender in the statement of intentions that you want to keep your mortgage.

See my blog posts regarding is bankruptcy better than debt settlement? and who will find out if I file bankruptcy?

Good luck!

My name is Lewis Roberts and I’m an attorney licensed in Florida and Georgia. My practice focus is consumer bankruptcy, real estate issues/closings, and mortgages. I also have Florida real estate broker and mortgage broker licenses. I am a proud member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA), National Association of Consumer Attorneys (NACA), and a graduate of Max Gardner’s Bankruptcy Boot Camp. I enjoy helping people with decisions that impact their financial well-being.

Legal Disclaimer: This is for educational purposes only. It is not to be relied upon as legal advice. It also does not create an attorney-client relationship. No such relationship is formed with attorney without a written agreement.

If you have a bankruptcy question you’d like to ask just use the online form.

About the author

Lewis Roberts

Florida Consumer Protection Attorney

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