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Can a Debt Collector Take My Stimulus Payment?

If you are like many Americans in and around Chicago, you are struggling to pay your debts as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. You may have received your government stimulus payment in recent weeks. Depending on your income, you could have been eligible to receive a payment of up to $1,200, and up to $500 for each dependent child. Whether you already received your stimulus payment or you are still waiting to receive it, you may have concerns about whether a debt collector can take that money from you if you have outstanding debts. It is an important question to consider given that Congress is in talks about additional stimulus payments for Americans suffering financially as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

So, can a creditor or debt collector take your government stimulus payment? In short, maybe. According to a recent article in USA Today, stimulus checks are not “explicitly off-limits to debt collectors.” As a result, you could have a stimulus payment garnished.

Amount of Mone…

What Can I do About Medical Debt Collection During the Pandemic?

Many thousands of people have been hospitalized with COVID-19 infections and have been incurring medical bills, while many thousands more owe significant medical debt due to previous hospitalizations, surgeries, and treatments. While you might think that hospitals and other healthcare facilities are holding off on aggressive debt collection tactics during the pandemic and while they are struggling to treat COVID-19 patients. However, according to a recent article in ProPublica, the opposite is actually true. As that article explains, while healthcare providers at hospitals across the country deal with sick patients, many of whom are fighting for their lives, the billing departments at those facilities are often hounding patients who owe money.

Aggressive Hospital Debt Collection Continues Despite Job Losses
Consumers across the country are dealing with many different effects of the coronavirus pandemic—from COVID-19 infections and illness to job loss and reduction in wages. While many A…

Reasons Why Filing for Bankruptcy Sooner Could Benefit You in the Long Run

If you recently lost your job due to the COVID-19 pandemic or have been thinking about filing for bankruptcy given the seeming insurmountability of your consumer debt, it may be better to file for personal bankruptcy sooner rather than later. Indeed, according to a recent article in MarketWatch, you should think “defensively” about your debt, and you should consider filing for bankruptcy on the sooner side. In short, by filing for bankruptcy sooner, you may be able to avoid dipping into assets that are exempt, and you could end up in a better financial place once the pandemic eases. We want to refer to the article and to tell you more about why it could make sense to file for bankruptcy on the earlier side rather than waiting before talking to a bankruptcy lawyer.

Letting Cash Accrue Could Lead to a Seizure by Creditors
If you have begun making only the minimum payment on your credit cards in order to make sure that you have at least some cash on hand to pay for essentials during the pa…

Could Consumer Bankruptcy be an Issue for Congress?

The COVID-19 emergency has resulted in millions of Americans losing their jobs. Prior to the pandemic, many consumers were already struggling to repay debts, and some were considering personal bankruptcy as an option. Shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic closures began, a number of consumers in Illinois had recently filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or had finalized a Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan. Many financial experts are predicting that the rate of consumer bankruptcies will soar as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. It is unclear whether the current structure of the U.S. bankruptcy courts will be able to handle that “coming wave of bankruptcies,” according to a recent article in Roll Call. Indeed, as the article suggests, “courts could be overwhelmed by a record number of newly jobless consumers looking to shed crushing debts.”

Reexamining the Reasons for April’s Declining Bankruptcy Rates
Last month, the overall rate of consumer bankruptcies showed a decline, with 30% fewer…

What is the Difference Between Discharge Debt and Canceled Debt?

If you owe a substantial amount of debt, there are a few ways you can get rid of that debt, and one is filing for personal bankruptcy. First, and perhaps most obviously, you can pay off the debt. Whether you pay it off all at once or over time will not change the fact that the debt has been paid off. Of course, if you repay it over a longer period of time, you could end up paying more money in the long run due to interest. However, in the end, the debt is still paid off. When you do not pay off a debt, there are generally two other ways to eradicate the debt, and it is important to understand that they are quite distinct from one another and have different consequences.

We want to tell you more about discharging debt through consumer bankruptcy, and how that differs from having your debt canceled.

What Happens When My Debt is Discharged through Bankruptcy?
If you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the end result is typically a discharge of eligible debts. While that discharge o…

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and the Coronavirus: What You Should Know

Personal bankruptcy is a complicated process, and it can vary widely depending upon whether a person files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In some cases where an individual consumer is ineligible for both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, that person may need to turn to Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to get relief. We have discussed some of the shifts in personal bankruptcy cases that have occurred as a result of the COVID-19 emergency, and we have discussed the bigger overall picture of how coronavirus relief options, as well as debt issues, have changed the way in which consumers are filing for bankruptcy or are seeking to revise their bankruptcy plans. We want to focus on Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases today in relation to COVID-19. The following are key things to know about your Chapter 13 case and the coronavirus pandemic.

Your Chapter 13 Repayment Plan Can Last Longer Than Five Years
In a typical Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, the debtor develops a repayment plan t…

I Cannot Make My 13 Bankruptcy Payment: What Options Do I Have?

During the coronavirus pandemic, many residents of Chicagoland are being laid off from their jobs or temporarily furloughed, and as a result, many people are unable to work and to make payments on their Chapter 13 bankruptcy plans. Since the promise of a debt discharge at the end of the repayment period requires a debtor to make timely payments on the plan, it can be incredibly anxiety-inducing to think that you will not be able to uphold the terms of your Chapter 13 repayment plan. Whether you are having difficulty making your Chapter 13 payments as a result of the COVID-19 emergency or because of a job loss or illness unrelated to the pandemic, it is important to understand the options that may be available to you. The following are some of the options you should consider with the help of an Oak Park bankruptcy lawyer.

Request a Moratorium
You may be able to get a moratorium on your repayment plan under U.S. bankruptcy law. Typically, a moratorium will last for a short time, and no lo…