Financial difficulties have been affecting people more and more, and that includes senior citizens. The need for elderly credit card debt relief is growing. When you look at the statistics, that’s no surprise.
Nearly 4 million adults aged 65 and older had unpaid medical bills in 2020, according to the National Council on Aging. In 2001, only 24.2 percent of households with seniors carried credit card debt. By 2016, more than 34.2 percent of senior households had credit card debt. And the COVID-19 pandemic made many seniors’ situations worse.
It’s no wonder that elderly credit card debt relief has been in demand and that seniors are working with Ohio debt settlement lawyers to regain financial control. By exploring both practical and legal options for elderly debt, you can begin to tackle credit card debt for good.
Remember, if you’re a senior citizen who’s facing significant debt, you are not alone. Nor are you powerless or at fault. Elderly debt forgiveness options exist, and our Ohio debt relief attorney can tell you more about them.
Bankruptcy and Elderly Debt Forgiveness Options
Declaring bankruptcy doesn’t mean giving up. Rather, it’s a way of hitting the financial Restart button. Depending on the type of bankruptcy, your credit card debt could either be discharged (meaning wiped clean) or paid off in manageable increments.
While there are different legal options for elderly debt, declaring bankruptcy can provide fast debt relief. There are two main kinds of bankruptcy—Chapter 7 and Chapter 13—and our Ohio bankruptcy lawyers can help you determine which is best for you.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is designed to give debtors a fresh start. If you’re facing a high amount of credit card debt, Chapter 7 can essentially wipe the slate clean and eliminate that debt. Chapter 7 is intended for individuals whose income is too low to pay their monthly living expenses and their debts, which can include credit card debt.
Our Ohio bankruptcy lawyers can help you figure out if you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you have a regular income, your income, expenses, and debt will be evaluated to see if you qualify.
Our Ohio Bankruptcy Attorney Explains Dischargeable Debt
Senior citizens like you who are facing high credit card debt need to know about legal options for elderly debt. Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, debts that are not backed by assets like a home or car are generally dischargeable. This means that they can generally be eliminated through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Types of debt that can be forgiven include:
- Credit card debt
- Personal loan debt
- Medical bills
- Utility bills
- Past-due rent
- Auto accident claims
- Repossession fees and balances
Elderly credit card debt relief can often be achieved though Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your credit card debt is too high and you have little hope of repaying, speak with our Ohio bankruptcy attorney about your options. Further, if you’re facing other types of debt beyond credit card debt, Chapter 7 may eliminate those debts as well.
Not all payments and debts can be discharged though Chapter 7, however. Child support payments, alimony, taxes, and student loan debt cannot be eliminated by declaring Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Your legal options for elderly debt management also include Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This type of bankruptcy is designed for people who have steady income.
Essentially, Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to consolidate your debt and break it down into monthly payments. These payments are then made over a three- to five-year period. After that, the remaining eligible debt is discharged.
- Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often used to protect assets like your home or car from foreclosure or repossession. Seniors whose income is too high to qualify for Chapter 7 may still be able to declare Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
- You must have some disposable income in order to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and Credit Card Debt
Credit card debt is considered an unsecured debt, meaning it’s not backed by an asset like a house or car. Typically, Chapter 13 repayment plans prioritize paying back secured debt that is backed by assets.
Depending on your income and assets, a percentage of credit card debt may be paid through the Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan. But other unsecured debt, like the types below, may take precedence and need to be paid off first:
- Support – Child support and spousal support debt take priority.
- Legal fees and expenses – Fees owed to a bankruptcy trustee and to attorneys will have to be paid.
- Taxes – Back taxes owed for property will have priority over many other types of unsecured debt.
After these priority unsecured debts are paid, then payments can focus on other unsecured debt like credit card debt. Medical bills, past-due rent, and utility bills are all other types of unsecured debt that would be considered non-priority. Still, these types of debts will be factored into a Chapter 13 repayment plan.
How an Ohio Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Help You with Credit Card Debt
Knowing where to turn when you’re looking for debt forgiveness for seniors is key. Our Ohio debt settlement and bankruptcy lawyers can help by assessing your financial situation and figuring out the best options.
We may also be able to provide some relief in figuring out which of your assets and income sources are protected. If bankruptcy is your best option, generally your retirement-related income is protected from creditors, including:
- Social Security benefits
- Retirement savings
Bankruptcy and the Automatic Stay Provision
If you and your Ohio bankruptcy attorney decide that declaring bankruptcy is best, some benefits take effect right away. When you declare bankruptcy, regardless of whether it’s Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, an automatic stay goes into effect.
The automatic stay is a provision that immediately stops creditors from contacting you. This means no more harassing phone calls or threatening letters. Instead of dealing with creditors, you can focus on repayment and successful legal options for elderly debt.
Why Work with an Ohio Debt Relief Attorney?
When facing bankruptcy, the process can be complicated. Further, knowing that you’re selecting the best options and managing debt as smartly as possible is essential. Our Ohio bankruptcy lawyer can walk you through the bankruptcy process step by step. Let us help with:
- Gathering income-related and financial information
- Organizing materials and handling bankruptcy court dates
- Completing paperwork and legal requirements
- Advising you on available options
Take back control of your finances and get credit card bills under control once and for all. We know finances are a top concern, so our legal team keeps rates low while working with you.
Considering Legal Options for Elderly Debt? Try Contacting Your Credit Card Company.
If you’re facing credit card debt but don’t yet need bankruptcy protections, you can still take action. Try contacting your credit card company and explaining your situation.
By contacting your credit card company, you may be able to negotiate to secure a lower payment or decreased rates. While creditors and card companies are hardly known for low interest rates, even a small reduction will be beneficial.
Finally, for necessary larger purchases or unexpected expenses, don’t be afraid to ask about alternative payment options. Some businesses and stores might offer layaway options or agree to accept incremental payments over the course of a few months. Some may also offer no-interest financing, although you should be sure to understand the terms if that’s proposed.
Tackling Credit Card Debt Strategically
Regardless of the amount you owe, it pays to be strategic when managing elderly credit card debt relief. Keep the following guidelines in mind when figuring out where to prioritize payments.
- If you have revolving debt on multiple cards, aim to pay off the card with the highest interest rate first.
- Conversely, you could try to pay off the card with the lowest balance first and then use any remainder for other card balances.
Even with best payment practices, today’s high interest rates are making it harder and harder to get ahead of credit card debt. If your debt balance won’t budge, our Ohio bankruptcy lawyer may be able to help.
Need Elderly Credit Card Debt Relief? Contact Our Legal Team.
The Ohio debt relief attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer have years of experience helping people and seniors regain financial control. Credit card interest rates are only going up, and even financially responsible seniors are struggling with debt.
Instead of letting debt control you, find out more about elderly debt forgiveness options. Contact our legal team at 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati). Schedule a free consultation and let our caring, experienced, and results-driven Ohio bankruptcy attorneys get to work for you.