My Mother is Being Sued by Chase. All She Gets is Social Security Income. – Helen

“Dear Michael,

My Mother was served a summons today by 2 Sheriff’s Deputies. I haven’t seen the document yet, but it sounds like she is being sued by Chase. She has 30 days to respond to Magistrate Court. The debt is for $10,000 she owes on a credit card. She had a serious health scare, a ruptured aortic aneurysm in 2006 and her life has spiraled since. She sold her condo at a loss and basically lived off of her credit card. She is now living on $795 per month Social Security and her rent is $440 per month. Once she pays her rent and utilities, she has very little left over.

My Mother is being sued by Chase for $10,000. Her only income is Social Security. She rents her apartment and doesn’t own any other assets. What is the best course of action? She has 30 days to respond. Can they garnish her Social Security wages? Thank you so much for your help. I really don’t know where to start. She can’t afford to get advice from a lawyer.”

Hi Helen,

Generally speaking, the detail you provided suggests your mother is “judgment proof”. Her social security cannot be garnished, but her bank account can be levied as part of collection efforts after a judgment is entered. If any of the funds in her bank account are not sourced to exempt monies, it becomes complicated. In fact, if her account is levied and all funds are exempt it is still a hassle to undo.

At this stage in her life and the limited income situation, filing bankruptcy may be the best way to put all of the debts behind her. I realize she may not be able to come up with enough money to cover the costs of bankruptcy. Are there any family members that can help chip in to cover the costs? I would also encourage you to look for a low income legal aid office in her area. If you can locate one, your mother may be able to get legal assistance at a reduce or even no cost given her limited income.

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Michael Bovee has worked with financially challenged consumers for the past 17 years and is a recognized expert in his field. Michael founded Consumer Recovery Network (CRN) in 2006. CRN offers debt settlement services and educational resources nationwide. He has served as its president since 2006.

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