Husband is Disabled on SSI and I Can Only Find Temp Jobs. – Nancy

“Dear Steve,

I lost my permanent job 2 years ago, been temping ever since. (Just can’t seem to nab a perm job.) Husband is on SSI Disability.

The temp job pays nowhere near what I was making as an employee, and altho hubby’s disability helps, we don’t have a heck of a lot of $$ left over for any fun stuff (just going out to hang with friends; no major vacations for 5 years).

Anyway, we just received a judgement from the county court house from a debt collection law firm. I’ve done a bit of research on them, and they’re not, shall we say, known for their kindness. (There’s a class action lawsuit against them, and I’ve seen other, individual lawsuits as well: All related to foreclosures, as far as I can tell.)

According to them, we owe $8,000 in med bills from when I was in the hospital back in 2008 (brain aneurysm). Husband was already out of work by that point, so we were already in trouble where debt was concerned – we couldn’t pay the rest of the bill that was due then, and since that time, we’ve been hit up 3 times for credit card debt repayment (still paying on 2; settled one, thanks to $$ from my mother).

Since we don’t have a lot of money coming in, hubby tried to explain that we can’t afford more than $70 per month. They tried to get him to agree to $100, and he told them we couldn’t afford that. Plus our house doesn’t have much (if any) equity in it due to the real estate fallout.

1. I’ve seen somewhere that I can ask them to validate the claim. Thing is, I don’t remember how much we still owed the hospital/neurosurgeon, so would it be a good idea to ask them to do this? (Again, this is a debt collection law firm, not a collection agency). Or will I get them pissed off if I ask?

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2. If they refuse to agree to something under $100, what happens?

I’ve uploaded an approximation of where we’re at, relative to income and expenses.


Dear Nancy,

Thanks for reaching out to me. Good job on the temp job front. Congratulations for staying busy and making money.

Let’s jump in.

Based on the income and expenses you sent me it tells me one thing, I bet expenses are higher than estimated. The figures you sent are basic and I doubt they include the pocket cash that wanders out or makes allowances for those unexpected expenses that happen to everybody.

Here is what you sent me.

Based on the fact you’ve had some medical problems yourself, the fact that you could ill afford to have your wages garnished, and it does not look like you are able to save money to build up an emergency fund to protect yourself moving forward I would recommend you explore a legal fresh start to address this situation.

It might be possible to defend yourself against this current debt by demanding verification of the debt. But that might solve a future problem, and not the current issues.

If they are successfully able to sue you for the debt, win, proceed with a judgment, then they could go for a wage garnishment.

Even if you negotiated a lower payment, I don’t see much support here to make me confident you could make that payment.

Additionally, I’m not sure how fair it is to your mother to have to repay your debt. But that’s a different matter.

That legal fresh start and second chance I mentioned, has a name. It’s call bankruptcy. I’d suggest you click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney and go talk to them. You can talk to them about what bankruptcy would mean for you.

Most likely you’d be able to discharge all your debt in a few months, it would free up your budget so you could begin to save again, and stop lawsuits for debt included.

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Do me a favor, meet with a local bankruptcy attorney and then report back in. Deal?

One more thing, I’d suggest you use the public benefits finder calculator to discover what benefits might be available to help you.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.


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.
Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

Steve Rhode

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