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My Disabled Son is Being Called by Collections for a Wheelchair. – Kathryn

“Dear Steve,

My son is 27, disabled at birth cerebral palsy, stays at home, doesn’t work, no SSI, grandfathered on exhusbands health ins thru school system,, all EOB information goes to their address, ordered wheelchair 3.0 years ago, insurance paid medical co. as a provider, ordered self propelled wheels insurance denied payment, found out by a collection agency who called my office and then my home. I think my son signed a form with an (x) at the medical provider when picking up chair. I’ve asked the ex husband to appeal with the school board, thought that had been done, not, I’ve exhausted all means, collection agency called my home today, left message for my son to call by Monday 4:00 central or go to court. My son is distraught!

What can I do to help resolve this problem?


Dear Kathryn,

I agree, it is a disturbing situation. But first, please tell your son to relax. Even if he is sued, and does not have any assets in his name, they most likely can’t take anything from him. The suit is actually the lesser of my concerns here.

We need to unwind the clock here on the chair and get some facts. Just because he has medical insurance, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will cover the cost of the chair. Medical insurance is actually a benefit to protect the patient and not the provider. The patient remains liable for the balance, insurance pays the provider as a convenience. That is unless the provider agreed to accept assignment and only charge what would be paid by the medical insurance company.

I’d call the medical supply company and ask for copies of the purchase agreements or purchase receipt. I’d then call the insurance provider and ask them for any proof they paid on this chair or even received a claim for it. It’s not even clear if the insurance company was even billed or had a claim submitted.

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If the collection agency is just now calling, you are not currently being sued. However, within 30 days of first contact you should send them a certified, return receipt requested letter asking the collection company to provide supporting documentation showing the charges and that your son is responsible for the charges. Let them know you don’t recognize the debt and you need for them to provide proof the debt is valid.

This will buy you a bit more time while to work on getting the paperwork. If you do get a purchase agreement with an X on it, it would be hard to prove that is your son, unless there is some witness statement on the paperwork.

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

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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.


  • Hi Kathryn,

    What ever you do, don’t delete that message. Collection agencies can’t leave messages like that. Steve, gave you wonderful advice. I”d recommend an additional step. Call a local consumer law attorney, one that specializes in the FDCPA, if possible. Play them the tape.

    Please keep us posted and feel free to follow up with any additional questions.

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