I’ve Been on the Care One Debt Management Program For Two Years. I’m on Disability. – Laurel


“Dear Steve,

I’ve been enrolled in Care One debt management program for over two years for 4 credit cards which all are over $1400.00 I am on Permanant disability and live in New York. I am getting to the point where I don’t know how long I can stick out this situation as its a toss up between food, shelter, gas and electric medications and docters and car fare. I am 57 yrs old and it’s causing me depression and a major hardship what can I do to I cannot work and my only income is Social Security.

Is there a solution or a forgiveness program for the balances? currently up to date on payments but don’t know for how long…


Dear Laurel,

You probably originally enrolled in the CareOne Credit Counseling program because you told them that you wanted to find a solution to your debt problem and get the creditors off your back. I can understand that.

But based on the facts that you’ve shared with me today, I can’t see how any debt management or credit counseling program would be a good solution for you. Don’t despair about all the payments you’ve made to date. They simply led you to this point. And of course, you never have to listen to my advice and you are free to do whatever you want to do.

Participating the the debt management program you are on now probably provides you with some relief from the fear you feel that you would experience from your creditors if you were not making payments. The fear of that situation has led you into a course of action that has no positive outcome for you.

It is highly unlikely that you are going to be able to successfully repay your debt in full through the CareOne debt management, or any debt management program. Why? The answer is not because you don’t have the will, but you don’t have the way.

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Anytime you are juggling paying for appropriate food, your needed medications or utilities, it is a clear sign that more action must be taken to address the underlying debts. In your case that means that you should stop making any further payments into the debt management program.

The most alarming aspect of your situation is your depression. Depression is actually very common in people facing money troubles. But depression without adequate treatment is a serious issue. Depression and stress can kill you or at least have serious life implications. Depression also makes life feel hopeless and grey, but it can be easily treated.

I’m not sure if you are ready to face this head on or not but the best course of action for you to take is:

  1. Discontinue additional unsustainable payments into the debt management program.
  2. When collectors call looking for payment from you, you can explain your current financial situation and that you are living on benefits alone. If probably won’t stop much but you can try.
  3. If that becomes intolerable, pursue legal debt elimination through bankruptcy. Meet with a local bankruptcy lawyer for free advice.

In similar situations in the past I was able to persuade creditors to write off some debts for people in impossible situations, but this is a different time. I think it is highly unlikely that any major creditor will do that. Especially when the credit card companies are scrambling for every dollar they can.

The bottom line here is that you are two years into a debt management program that does not appear to have a likely chance of successfully repaying your debt. You need to get your priorities reordered. Medications, food and utilities come first, anything left over is what is available for debt repayment. For help to uncover your available debt repayment dollars, download my free book, Eliminate Your Debt Like a Pro.

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Don’t kick yourself, fix yourself. Step up, take action, file bankruptcy and put an end to these debts, forever. You’ve got a long life ahead of you, but just not like this.


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.

Steve Rhode

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