How Can I Manage My Debt While on Disability SSI?

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“I am currently on SSI for my disability, and I cannot work right now due to the fact that I went back to school to get my high school diploma, and if I work they take so much out of my SSI check ($602.00 a month effective January 2006) that I can not pay my regular bills (such as rent, electricity and gas). A little over a year or so ago I got into some trouble with two credit cards and three cell phone companies. The problem is that I keep on getting collection notices and phone calls due to the fact that the credit cards and cell phone bills are over a year overdue. I owe $1,998.00 to one credit card and $1,250.00 to the other, and I owe Cellular One $590.39, Alltell $678.44, and T-Mobile $6,505.00. It all has gone on my credit report as deliquent biils which has made my credit the worst it can be. I can not even get a loan to pay everything off. I have to walk 3 miles to school and 3 miles home every day even if the weather is bad due to the fact that I can not miss one day of school. I can not even get a car which would benefit me in more than one way. Many people tell me to just not worry about my way overdue bills, and that after 7+ years that it will go off my credit report. But I can’t afford to wait that long. So my question is what should I do?”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]


You managed to run up over $6,500 in charges to a mobile phone company, and now you complain that they keep asking you for their money? Even if that is a typo, and you meant “$650”, you spent nearly $2,000 with three cell phone companies. How on earth does someone run up that much cell phone debt, unless you knowingly went from one cell phone company to another, running up charges at one before you jumped to the next? I can tell you that if that’s not what you did, it’s certainly what your creditors think that you did. Of course you can’t get a loan!

What you can do, however, is talk to one of the consumer credit counseling services. These are agencies which will put you on a payment plant with your creditors – sometimes for as little as $5.00 a month per creditor if they can verify your financial situation is as dire as you say it is – and with an agreement through such an agency your creditors will back off. Look up “consumer credit counseling” in the local telephone book.

Recommended reading (click on the picture for details):
How to Settle Your Debts



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Author: Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

Anne P. Mitchell, Esq. is a noted family law expert, Internet law expert, and Professor of Law at Lincoln Law School of San Jose. She is the author of "Surviving Divorce: the Single Father's Guide" and "The Email Deliverability Handbook"