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Home > Reader Questions > I’m 72, Unemployed and Living on Social Security But Have Credit Card Debt. – Judy

I’m 72, Unemployed and Living on Social Security But Have Credit Card Debt. – Judy

I am 72 lost my job in 2010 my Unemployment benefits run out May 30 I owe about about 8K in credit card debt and am paying an old line of credit bill that my husband will not help with the balance is 11,700.00. My total income is 1300 per month from Soc. Sec. I pay my car payment, Verizon and cable, storage unit with that and the little I have left over goes for personal items, gas, and occasional food item I may want.

My husband and I basically live separatly but under the same roof I have been unable to find other work probably due to my age. I am an LPN by trade, I have no assets, or pension. I want to file bankruptcy for myself. Since it does not look like I will get more income it would be impossible to try to get a loan to consolidate bills. I am current right now with all payments but after May, I will be unable to pay the creditors.


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This is information that was submitted by a third party and not generated by or Steve Rhode.
  • Cad33049

    Judy, I am also in the same situation. I am 63 and lost my job in 2010. I have been job searching ever since only to be told I am over qualified. In other words “too old”. I have used my credit card to take the place of my lost wages, paying for food, clothing and gas. Now my 401K is exhausted and my unemployment ran out last May. I can’t get my creditor to work with me. They say I have used my credit card to excess. I was never late with a payment to them and always paid more than the minimum. I advised them that I just needed a 6-9 month extension and I would make a reasonable payment during that time but still no help. My husband had cancer surgery in February and March and we are having to pay medical bills, however they should be cleared in 6-9 months plus he will receive a little pension check starting in April 2013 so things should get a little better then. But still they would not budge. I don’t want to file bankruptcy but I feel they are forcing me that direction. Please let me know what your outcome is, I could use the advise.

    Thanks and Good Luck!

  • David Robert

    Lets not forget if you default and the attorney aka – debt collector takes you to court and they get a judgement they can call you to Interrogatories where the attorney (aka) debt collector will ask you a ton of questions trying to find if you have any assets they can steal.  The debt collector can file a lien against your checking account and take whatever’s there. If you take the advice that Steve offered in regard to being “judgement proof” as he said they can still sue you. IF IT WERE ME, I would find a family member or someone you trust to open a Checking Account in their name and add you as a user, that way the account is NOT in YOUR name but you can still use it, you can also get a debit card with your name on it. There is BIG difference between being the one who opens the account veres being added as a user, your SS# will not be attached to the account. A debt collector cannot steal what they cannot attach or find. 

    David Robert

    • Charles Phelan

      If the *only* source of deposits into the checking account is Social
      Security Income, then it is protected from garnishment/levy. In March
      2011, the Code of Federal Regulations (Title 31, Part 212) was updated
      to strengthen protection against garnishment of Federal benefit

  • Gwen Lance

    Judy: I am in the same boat and looking for answers as well. I am 71 yrs old, lost my job in 2010, u/e benefits run out in may and I am behind in credit card pymts. Now trying to live on social security but does not pay all my expenses nor can I make the pymts on my credit cards. This has ruined my credit I have worked all my life to keep a good rating on. I am considering Bankruptcy Chapter 7 but it is expensive to do so, and there is no money for it. If you find an answer to your problem, please let me know and I will do the same.
     Thank You: Gwen

  • Aguilasuave

     I know a man who was on mental disability getting $300 a month repairing homes, cars, or whatever he could in exchange for living in a garage, a patio or where ever. $300 a month wasn’t going very far. He remembered about tything so he began but it didn’t help until the HOLY SPIRIT explained to him that he was tything for the wrong reason; for his own benefit. When he asked GOD’S forgiveness and began to tithe for the sake of others, things changed. He know has the $37,000.+ to pay off child support arrears and property that is paid for.
     To trust in JESUS with our whole hearts is not easy but the “only” way.
     I know I am that man.

  • Nancy

    I’m going through a very similar situation, except I’m single.  Why won’t your husband help you out.  That sounds so shocking to me if he can.  I’m going through a very similar situation, except I consulted a bankruptcy attorney and I’m totally eligible to file a Petition for Ch. 7 in NYC.  However, there is a new wrinkle in NYC with rent stabilized apartments.  Trustees are seizing stabilized leases, selling them back to owners/landlords for a lot of money, which the debtor can’t match, and the creditors get money from the Trustee, the landlords have the leases and can kick out the tenant and get market rent.  And the debtor is out on the street, even if a senior.  Hope you are not here.

  • Msullivan


    Sorry for the tough times. If all your debt is all unsecured (like credit card debt) and you are living just on Social Security, you may be what we call “judgment proof.” It is possible that your creditors have no real recourse if you just default on the debt. Certainly they will not be happy and you will likely have to notify them in writing not to contact you, but a plain old default may be your best option and it costs less than filing for bankruptcy.

    Of course if you find a job before the statute of limitations kicks in your wages could be subject to garnishment. And you may want to pay a little to an attorney just to be sure there isn’t an issue I don’t know about, but I think it is time to notify your creditors that you cannot make payments and have no assets and no income other than Social Security. I have seen some creditors just say thanks and go away.

    Good Luck!

    • Steve Rhode

      Just to clarify, you can still be sued if you are judgment proof. I don’t want you to be surprised.

  • Deb

    With your situation as it is, I would consider a divorce first of all. The alimony should help you get through this financial crisis and help you move on to find a life of your own. As an LPN you can hire yourself out doing private duty jobs on your own or through a home health care agency.

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