We are seniors in our mid seventy’s very bad health. We have credit card debt because we have had to put medical bills and medicine,plus living expenses. We owe 14,000.00 and having a hard time making minium payments.
HELP, our only income is our social security. We don’t know how to handle this. Our health is getting worse. The worry is getting so bad we are not sleeping. Could you please help us with some advice? thank you.
Bless you for contacting me and asking for help.
Clearly this is a situation which needs immediate attention. The worry and stress over debt can significantly impact both your physical and emotional well being.
Dealing with the debt is the easy part here. My bigger concern is the debt was the result of you being unable to make ends meet on your reduced income. When you deal with the debt, and I’m going to suggest bankruptcy, we need to get you in a position where you can live within your income and not rely on credit to get by.
One way to help amplify your income is to take advantage of any public benefits you may be eligible for. Please visit Benefits.gov and use their online tool to find out what you might be able to get.
Every dollar in benefits you can receive is a dollar saved from your meager Social Security income and that can help stretch the monthly budget to make ends meet.
There are two ways of handling a situation like this. My least favorite is to do nothing and just stop paying on the debts. If you have no other big assets, which it does not sound like you do, then while your creditors could sue you to try and collect the debt they would not be able to garnish your wages. This is what people typically call “being judgment proof.”
The second and more preferable way would be for you to find a local bankruptcy attorney and meet with them. It sounds like you would qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy and if so your debt would be discharged in about 90 days.
Below you will find a huge list of links and resources to help you with the bankruptcy route.
Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.