The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has wreaked havoc financially on many people throughout the United States. Since the Coronavirus pandemic started sweeping the country in early March, more than 22 million people nationwide have lost their jobs, pushing the unemployment rate to 16.1 percent, according to The Wall Street Journal.
As a result, large numbers of people are going to look for help in dealing with debt that they weren’t able to pay. And we don’t know how long this is going to last.
I am preparing my staff to handle a surge of new cases. More people will need the protections that bankruptcy offers than ever before.
If you haven’t been able to pay your bills, your car payment, your rent or mortgage, here’s what you need to know now.
Call us today because you need to know your options.
This is an amazingly stressful time and money issues just make them worse. Having a plan can reduce some of the stress. A bankruptcy may or may not be right for you or today may not be the best time to file. But having answers and developing your own plan, will help you through this period of uncertainty.
If you even think that there’s a possibility that you’re going to have some financial issues, or you’re afraid something is going to get behind, schedule a free consultation with us before you make any kind of decisions.
Leave your 401K and other retirement money where it is.
This advice has never changed. Do not take money from your retirement account.
The new coronavirus hardship withdrawals allow people to take up to $100,000 from their 401(k)s or individual retirement accounts without penalty or mandatory withholding. The withdrawals are taxable on your next tax return. This is going to cause a lot of people some trouble. The idea is that you will pay it back, so you don’t have to pay the tax. Very few will be able to do that.
There are other reasons not to use your retirement funds and I’ll share them with you when we talk.
Keep your things, don’t sell anything.
Many people come to me after they have sold unneeded possessions to pay a part of the debts they owe. If you file bankruptcy, you probably won’t have to give up any those things.
Also, don’t give away any of your stuff. We have to tell the court about anything you give away or “sell” for little or no value. If you do that, the court can ask for it back and, maybe, sell it.
Take advantage of forbearance programs.
Forbearance gives you time to fully consider the best steps for you and your family.
If your credit card company will let you skip a payment or two, that’s okay. Use the money to pay the things you need to pay. It’s much better to skip a credit card than your rent or mortgage. (Or other necessities)
Credit card debt and other unsecured debts are usually erased in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Not making a payment now won’t make a difference in your bankruptcy.
Secured debt, such as mortgages and car loans, usually aren’t erased, but forbearance could help you save money for other necessities, including food, utilities. A chapter 13 can help with mortgages, car loans and past due rent.
Ask us about “O Down Chapter 7” Bankruptcy
We know that money is tight right now and so we’re among the first in South Carolina to help our clients file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy without paying any money up front. We are able to file your case and finance our attorney’s fees afterwards. Unfortunately, everyone does not qualify but most do. Talk to us about how you can get relief from the stress of debt almost immediately.
Chapter 13 can stop evictions and foreclosures
If you haven’t been able to pay your rent or your mortgage, Chapter 13 lets us make the payments you missed over time and stops any legal action so that you can stay in your home.
Still need more information? Talk to one of our experienced, South Carolina bankruptcy lawyers at Benjamin R. Matthews and Associates, LLC. Contact us and schedule a free initial consultation with our law firm. We can help you make a fresh financial start.