Americans need debt relief more than ever
Earlier this year, we wrote that bankruptcy filings were down, but the remainder of 2022 could see a reckoning. That trend appears to be unfolding before our eyes.
Reuters reports that bankruptcy filings, though still below historic levels, are creeping up in 2022, according to legal research firm Epiq. Given the ongoing economic challenges and lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems likely that this increase in filings will continue for some time. Americans need financial relief, and bankruptcy is an important means of getting that relief.
“Amid rising interest rates, growing inflation concerns, worker shortages and supply chain challenges, access to bankruptcy is imperative for struggling consumers and businesses,” said Amy Quackenboss, executive director of the American Bankruptcy Institute.
In the current economy, creditors may be more likely to pursue debtors
There are a number of reasons why personal bankruptcies lagged significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. One factor was government aid, such as expanded unemployment insurance and bans on evictions and foreclosures. Those programs had the effect of both keeping families financially afloat and taking certain weapons temporarily out of the hands of creditors, meaning people didn't need the protection of bankruptcy. However, those programs have now come to an end.
In addition, more people are back to work — the national unemployment rate is down to just 3.6% as of this writing, and here in South Carolina, it's even lower. While getting back to work is certainly helpful for your finances, it also gives creditors more options to pursue debtors. As a practical matter, if someone doesn't have income, their creditors are less likely to put much effort into trying to collect; after all, you can't garnish someone's wages if they're not getting a paycheck in the first place. Some workers are in a difficult position where they have enough income for a creditor to try to take, but not enough to keep up with their payments and still afford to live.
Bankruptcy offers a way out of this situation.
Find out if bankruptcy is the right solution for you
Given everything that has happened to South Carolinians in the last two years, from devastating illness to long-term unemployment, there are many reasons you may need a financial reset. Bankruptcy can help you avoid eviction or foreclosure. It can get you out of medical debt or credit card debt and on the path to a healthier financial future. And while you may need to liquidate some assets, you should be able to keep your home, your car, and your prized possessions.
Bankruptcy isn't right for everyone, but if you're dealing with spiraling debt, you should at least know your options — and with filings increasing, it's important that you take action now before the courts become backlogged. We would be honored to discuss your financial situation and explore whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is right for you. Call or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with Benjamin R. Matthews and Associates, LLC.