Ask The Get Out of Debt Experts Medical Debt

Unemployed After Three Surgeries and Facing a Garnishment of Husband’s Pay. – DeAnna

“Dear Steve,

i live in california i am un-employed due to medical problems i have had three major surgeries in a two year span my husband is our only source of income, we currently had a collection agency inform us they will be taking us to court to garnish wages unless we pay 6131.00 in full. we do not have that kind of money we literaly live paycheck to paycheck i offered to pay $100. a month and I was told no… they can get 400.00 by way of garnishment then i was asked if my husband had a 401k plan… if so get the money from that.

we can’t afford to have our only source of income garnished and we would be penalized if we take out any money from the 401k…. to garnish his wages would put us on the street… what are we to do?


Dear DeAnna,

It is a recurring tragedy that medical debt often leads to these types of situations. My concern at this point is that it sounds like the debt creating the immediate problem is substantially past due and the last thing we want is a wage garnishment that would throw you into further disarray.

Quite frankly, the most logical solution appears to be a legal fresh start and second chance like bankruptcy. But do you have any other debt besides this one?

If you can give me some more details it can get us closer to nailing down the most likely solution for 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.

See also  How Do I Get My Wife Removed From Our Judgment?

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.


  • Steve, I do know there are other collection angencies out there with other past due medical bills , all our bad credit is due to medical bills, some from us and others from our children, I do not know however how long it takes before the debts are too old but I am trying to get on social securety disablity, but that takes forever and a day. bankruptcy is an option it is something we have never done but know several people who have…but none for strictly medical… is that differant? DeAnna

    • Others will have a different take on a situation like this and talk about nose to the grindstone and work your way out of the mess. But for me I seem to see situations like this entirely differently.

      If we had a time machine I’d say let’s turn back the clock and go back and doing something differently. Great idea. Not going to happen.

      As I write this right now my mother is literally dying and I deal with that on a daily basis. She doesn’t have long to live. It reminds me we all have a finite existence. So what do you want to spend your days doing. You can worry about the past and try to limp along and sit in the stress pool and let this not get better, or you can take action, look at bankruptcy and do better moving forward.

      Learn from the past. Do things differently tomorrow.

      Life is worth living while we can.

      • thank you, and i am sorry to hear about your mother, I will check into the bankruptcy and go from there. It isn’t easy to see your parents slip away…I went through that 1yr ago with my father so my heart goes out to you Steve.

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top