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  • Writer's pictureDawn Stachler

DEBT IN THE TIME OF COVID-19

These are unprecedented times; getting used to changes in our habits, lifestyles, work and income has been tough and may get tougher in the days, weeks and months to come. Whether you are a current or former client, Stachler Law Firm is here to help you navigate this new landscape. Our promise to you is that we will provide you with the best legal representation in reducing and resolving your debt, at our usual low affordable rates. We believe that everyone is entitled to representation; we offer payment plans and pro bono assistance to clients in challenging circumstances. Contact Stachler Law Firm to discuss how we can help you navigate your consumer debt accounts during this time.


If you have been working with a debt consolidation or debt management company and have had to withdraw from the program due to current financial hardship, leaving you uncertain how to handle accounts in collections, litigation or settlement, Stachler Law Firm can help you pick up the pieces. While we do not hold your money and send out your payments, we can help you navigate the complex world of debt negotiation and reduction, and fiscal management, all while protecting your rights, both in and out of court. We can help you with debt representation suited to your unique needs.


Purchase only what you need, when you need it; this will help you have necessary items on hand. While high interest credit cards should be avoided, save cash by putting some items on low interest credit cards or low interest bank loans. Make minimum payments on your credit card and use it for necessities. Avoid tapping into your retirement accounts since doing so gives rise to tax penalties.


There are also some resources available to help you in these uncertain times. Apply for unemployment if you have lost your job; we understand that the unemployment system is currently overloaded and that applicants should expect delays. Help should also arrive in the form of stimulus checks. However, while you wait, there are other steps you can (and should) take. The bottomline: Do not ignore all your bills. Contact all of the companies (utilities, auto loan, insurance, mortgage, credit cards, etc.) and ask for forbearance (delayed plan or a new plan):


Mortgages

Regulators ordered loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to offer flexibility in payments for up to a year. Some banks are offering options to defer mortgage payments. Check the fine print since some agreements come with harsh terms.


Rent

Many cities have called for a halt to evictions. There has not been much guidance however. Bigger companies might have more flexibility to accept late payments. If possible, find a way to work out a payment plan that you can currently afford so that rent payments do not pile up, making it more difficult to catch up in a few months.


Student Loans

Student loans may allow adjustments based on ability to pay since payments are based on income.


Utilities and Household Bills

Many water, electricity and gas utilities are not shutting off service, but be sure to confirm with your provider. Some providers may require an application; others still require that you try o make smaller payments so as to not fall too far behind. Check with your internet and phone providers as well, and if there is the option to change to a lower-priced plan, doing so will help reduce your monthly bills now and for the uncertain future. Make a list of recurring subscriptions and charges (especially those on auto-pay); e.g. cable, streaming TV or music. It is time to make decisions as to what items should be canceled.


Stachler Law Firm can assist with reviewing your credit and finances, as well as interacting with your creditors. We can help you reduce debt and request forbearance. Contact us and let us help you navigate these uncertain times.

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