I’m a Disabled Construction Worker in Oklahoma That is Being Chased by Bank of America. – Butch


“Dear Steve,

I live in a “village” located on Lake Tenkiller in Northeast Oklahoma. I am 58 years old and have worked construction (worker, foreman, owner) all of my life. I have been married and divorced three times. After the third divorce I lost my business, my home and all of my money. I was disabled and had been working with a lawyer to be proclaimed “legally” disabled. In the meantime I was doing odd jobs to make it. A family member had given me a 1969 10′ by 40′ mobile home to live in. The only bills I had to pay were the utility, phone, and lot rent bills. Even so, I was having a hard time because I couldn’t do jobs that took much physical labor.

Well, I finally was proclaimed legally disabled and have been getting a disability check for approximately $675 a month. I also receive food stamps amounting to approximately $120 a month. I was able to get by on this by buying and selling things occasionally on the side. I pick up new hot water heaters that Lowe’s have rejected for one reason or another, fix them (usually something simple), and sell them at a reduced rate. I was making it and I was fairly happy.

Then a few years back Bank of America sent me a credit card with a $7000 limit. All I had to do was use it to activate it. I was positive that when I tried to use it it would be turned down. I was wrong. I don’t know why, because my credit was terrible, but “they” let me keep it and within two years I received two more cards from them totaling $15,000!!! I was only going to keep them in case of a real emergency. Well, guess what. My son got into trouble with his business and needed $11,000 immediately. He was going to pay me back within six months and would make the payments every month. Within the six months his business tanked. He was in no position to pay me back.

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There, of course, was no way I could pay Bank of America back, and I told them so. I told them everything except I substituted myself for my son. I didn’t want them bothering him. I told them I was on disability (they didn’t know!) and was also working a job on the side which I lost because of the economy. I tried to work something out. I asked them to drop the interest to 0%, for a certain amount of time, and then I would be able to make the payments. They would drop the interest rate, but the monthly payments would still be too much. I talked to them several times to no avail. Now the collection agencies are on me. They have offered to cut the debt in half, but I have to make one lump sum payment. They have hinted they would even settle for less. Of course my credit is shot, so I can’t borrow any money to pay them.

What should I do? Can I use the being disabled in any way?

Should I go bankrupt? The credit card debt is the only debt I have. Seeing how I am 58 years old, am disabled, and have a terrible credit rating (which I will probably have for the rest of my life), should I just change my phone number and ride it out? I wouldn’t feel too bad about not paying them back because of what the banks have done, including the Bank of America, to the average person.

I would appreciate any information or advice you could give me.

Thank you,
Butch ”

Dear Butch,

Well, here you are now. You’ve got two choices. You could hide from your creditors and ride out the storm that could last for years, or you could go bankrupt and close the door on this situation and be done with it without having to look over your shoulder. Bankruptcy would be my vote since hiding is just so much more emotionally exhausting.

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You don’t need a lesson or a lecture about what went wrong here. I think you can see it. Just remember, that because someone gives you credit does not mean you can afford it.


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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.
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