Hospitals Sue Patients for Unpaid Medical Bills: What You Can Do
Hospitals are filing lawsuits against more of their patients. As collection agencies are less effective in collecting unpaid medical bills, hospitals sue patients with unpaid medical bills when they chose to collect from patients directly, instead of using a collection agency.
People incorrectly assume medical bills don’t matter and hope they do not get sued. Many large hospitals have a billing department that spends a calculated amount of time trying to collect a medical bill before sending it off to collections. Many collection agencies just call and harass you. Others threaten to sue.
Meanwhile, some hospitals sue patients for unpaid medical bills instead of waiting for the collection agencies to try collecting the balance due. Bankruptcy can stop the lawsuit!
A struggling social worker, the former patient is being sued by a nonprofit healthcare network in Memphis, Tennessee. Her name is Raquel Nelson and she was sued for $2,200 by Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare. Raquel isn’t the only one being sued, there are more than 8,300 lawsuits filed against patients for unpaid medical bills over five years.
If you think a hospital won’t sue you unless the amount is large enough, talk to Raquel Nelson or one the other 8,300 defendants with court dates. Most defendants sued for medical debts cannot afford a civil lawyer to defend them. Most defendants end up with a money judgment entered against them and a wage garnishment filed with the court and served on their employer’s payroll department.
You can stop lawsuits by hospitals with the protection of Bankruptcy Laws. For example, the Automatic Stay provision is a law that prohibits a creditor or collector from continuing any collection activity. A bankruptcy filing will also stop a wage garnishment. The money judgment entered against you in court can even be eliminated through a bankruptcy discharge.
Bad Things Happen to Good People: Bankruptcy Laws Can Stop Lawsuits When Hospitals Sue Patients
Car accidents involving uninsured and underinsured motorists can leave injured victims high and dry, with no money to pay medical bills. Especially when your injuries are severe and you required surgery and rehabilitative care, the hospital bills can be tens of thousands of dollars.
Job losses and layoffs affect people’s budget and ability to make payments on medical bills. Plenty of people with medical debt can prevent collection activities by negotiating a monthly payment amount people can afford. If something happens that affects the ability to pay, like a job loss or layoff, you might end up getting sued by the hospital.
Why Collection Agencies Are Ineffective at Getting Hospitals Paid
A collector does not pose much of a threat if all they are going to do is continue harassing you. Collection agencies must follow debt collection practice laws. These are federal laws with serious penalties. More people are reporting bill collectors to the federal agencies who police them. As a result, collection agencies are changing their practice and might be less effective and hospitals are avoiding them and directly collecting and filing lawsuits.
When most people think about a bankruptcy case they are looking for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Chapter 7 requires you to qualify. If, for example, your income is more than allowed in Chapter 7, you can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
If you are being sued or your wages are being garnished, you can stop the lawsuit and a wage garnishment with a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and its Automatic Stay, stopping creditors and collectors in their tracks.
Chapter 13 is the bankruptcy plan where you repay a portion of your debts over a three to five year period. In Chapter 13, you are allowed to keep your house, car, and personal possessions that might otherwise need to be sold or liquidated in a traditional Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
Just like Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, a lawsuit, money judgment, and wage garnishment will also be stopped by the Automatic Stay when you file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Call Joseph Wrobel, your Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyer (312) 781-0996.
Read Some Words from Happy Clients who Hired Joseph Wrobel for a Fresh New Start
“We hired Joseph Wrobel during one of the worst times in our lives…Bankruptcy. He was very knowledgable and honest. He responded to emails immediately, answered every question we had, no matter how small and always made us feel at ease. From the very first meeting with him until the end of our bankruptcy case, we knew we could depend on him. We’re very thankful for his expertise and would highly recommend him to anyone out there looking for legal assistance.” Scott and Lisa (2013)
Podcast: Listen to the August 2019 Bankruptcy Q&A With Chicago Bankruptcy Attorney Joseph Wrobel
For educational and entertainment purposes Chicago Bankruptcy Attorney Joseph Wrobel answers real people’s questions in this question and answer podcast about bankruptcy and consumer finance issues and problems. Joseph Wrobel wants everyone to be financially successful. At times a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy (full discharge) or a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy (3-5 year repayment) is the solution to your financial woes. There are other times you may not need to file for bankruptcy. Joseph Wrobel is here to help you figure out the best way out of your financial problems.
When you have a fresh financial start and don’t owe so much of your paychecks to creditors you are in a good position to save money and rebuild your credit. People are amazed by how easy it can be to have great credit again after they have financial troubles. We help you with everything.
Listen to this podcast as Chicago Bankruptcy Attorney Joseph Wrobel answers real questions about bankruptcy from real people all over the country. Below are summaries of the questions and answers. Note that this is not legal advice, these are general answers based on the information provided. Actual legal advice must take place in the office of an attorney you hire for legal advice. If you need legal advice, please call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. in Chicago at (312) 781-0996. We have offices all over the Chicagoland area and suburbs so it is easy to come to see us and get answers to your questions.
Vehicle Title Issues
Question: How can I get the title to a vehicle from the bank a year and a half after I filed for bankruptcy? The bank did not want the vehicle back.
Joseph Wrobel: If the car has value and you want to sell it you will not be able to sell it without the title. You could also keep the car and junk it when you are done driving it when you no longer want it or it no longer runs. In the podcast, Mr. Wrobel explains in more detail what documentation might be required by a salvage yard.
Question: Can the lender tack the debt owed on one vehicle to the other we have on the same account with the bank? We declared bankruptcy more than a year ago. With our credit union, we had payments and loans for both vehicles. We were thinking of relinquishing one of the vehicles to the credit union. If we do that can the credit union add that balance to the other loan for the vehicle we want to keep?
Joseph Wrobel: The credit union may have special provisions that say that the collateral for one loan also applies as collateral to the other loan.
Property Lien Issues
Question: Can the bank put a lien on my current property if they foreclose on my rental property? I bought my home in 2007. Then I bought another house and rented out my first house. My renters damaged and abandoned my rent house. Should I just let the bank foreclose on it and get out of the mortgage for the rent house? If they do foreclose on the rent house can they put a lien on my newer house where I am living? If I have to do anything, I have $30,000 in savings.
Joseph Wrobel: There is a Chapter 7 exemption that may apply if you qualify. If you file for Chapter 13, you might surrender other property and get into a plan to repay your debts. This would help you avoid a deficiency judgment and tax on the loss of the lender. Listen to the podcast for more detail from Chicago Bankruptcy Attorney Joseph Wrobel.
Out of State Collection Activity Issues
Question: Can an out of state collector sue me in a state in which they do not operate? I live in NJ and am being harassed by a debt collector from OH.
Joseph Wrobel: Yes, but they cannot sue you out of state in OH unless that is where you were when you signed for the debt. Meanwhile, nothing prevents them from suing you where you live in NJ. They will likely hire contracted attorneys in your state to sue you and attempt to collect a money judgment.
Question: Can my wife stop a foreclosure? My wife is not on the deed for the house even though we have been married for 10 years and file joint tax returns together. I have a mortgage foreclosure sale coming up in three weeks. Can my wife file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy or a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy to stop the foreclosure sale? I have filed for bankruptcy twice already in the past.
Joseph Wrobel: If your wife is not named on the mortgage, any bankruptcy case she files will not affect anyone else’s property, including yours, even though you are married to her and file joint taxes. While she does not need to be on the title (on the deed) to affect the mortgage, she does need to be named on the mortgage loan agreement.
Insurance Coverage Issues
Question: Is the pending cancellation of my car insurance policy stopped by my filing bankruptcy to get the advantage of the automatic stay provision?
Joseph Wrobel: No, the automatic stay stops collection procedures but does not prevent an insurance company from canceling your insurance.
New Loan and Lender Issues
Question: Can I get a new loan if I am making payments to my lawyer to file my Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Joseph Wrobel: If you are making payments on attorneys fees to your lawyer and your bankruptcy will not be filed until you pay your attorney in full, then there is nothing to stop you from getting a new loan. However, if you incur new debt just before you file the bankruptcy, it is a bad idea. The trustee may not allow you to discharge the new debt, especially since you knew you were going to file for bankruptcy and had been making pre-payments to your attorney.
Question: I understand I can file for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and get a five-year repayment plan. But what happens if I lose my job and cannot make the payments?
Joseph Wrobel: You may want to convert a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy to a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and discharge their remaining debt. Whether this is your best option depends upon why you filed a Chapter 13 and not a Chapter 7. Did you have a prior Chapter 7 filing? Did you have too much equity in an asset?
Question: What happens if the name listed in the foreclosure summons is not my name because it is misspelled? My last name is spelled wrong. Are these grounds for dismissing their foreclosure case? What can I do?
Joseph Wrobel: This is what is known as a “di minimis error” and is easily correctable if you were to challenge the validity of the summons.
Avoiding Foreclosure Sale Issues
Question: Can I stop a foreclosure auction by filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy only three days before the sale?
Joseph Wrobel: Yes, absolutely you can stop the foreclosure auction and save your house by filing for Chapter 13. You MUST have the petition filed with the Court before the auction sale. If you were to wait until after the foreclosure auction sale, you will not be able to save your home if that is your goal for filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy petition.
Bankruptcy and Credit Report Issues
Question: If I filed a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and it was immediately dismissed, can I get that removed from my credit report? I filed Chapter 13 to protect my home from being foreclosed when I was behind on my mortgage. Luckily I was able to work out a payment plan with the lender mortgage company and no longer needed the Chapter 13. I cannot increase my credit score at the moment because of the bankruptcy filing showing up on my report.
Joseph Wrobel: Your credit report is a history of your credit. You cannot change it and you cannot remove the bankruptcy filing information, that will be present for 7 years.
Bankruptcy Case Time Issues
Question: How long does the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy process take from start to finish?
Joseph Wrobel: About 4 months.
Do I Need Bankruptcy Issues
Question: My son is 27 and has about $25,000 in medical and credit card debt. How can we figure out whether a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is a good option for him? My son lives with us and he owns no property.
Joseph Wrobel: Maybe a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is a good idea. Assuming your son has no other assets, and he can pass the income test for Chapter 7, this might help him out depending on his financial situation. Other options might be repaying enough of the loans in enough time to avoid bankruptcy. When creditors are facing getting zero dollars because the debt was discharged, they might be more likely to make a deal for less than the amount owed or a payment plan over time that makes the debt payments more manageable while your son works to earn more money and get ahead financially.
What Are the Financial Questions that Keep You Up at Night?
Don’t Waste More Time in Anxiety: Call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. (312) 781-0996
Joseph Wrobel and his staff at Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. are ready to help answer your questions about financial problems and solutions. If bankruptcy is a good option for you, they will help you figure that out. Don’t waste another day being harassed by creditors. Use your right to the automatic stay: it stops bill collectors in their tracks.
We hope you find this information helpful. We host and share these podcast interviews and summaries about questions and answers about bankruptcy every month. You can also find more information by searching our website. Thank you for reading and sharing our podcast interview summary!
“It Wasn’t Worth it,” said the woman who lost $250 to a scammer on Facebook Marketplace. The seller had a 65 inch smart TV for sale for $250. The buyer got the tip from a friend who said they recognized the seller on Marketplace as a high school friend. The seller acted with urgency, asking the buyer to send her the money using Venmo, a mobile payment service owned by PayPal. “There was a need to act fast.”
After the buyer sent the money, the excuses started rolling in. The buyer was not able to get the television. After many days passed, thy buyer asked for a refund. The seller said the money was already spent on bills.
Law enforcement says that if it sounds like it is too good to be true, it probably is. And if you are suspicious of anyone selling an online item, move along to the next seller.
Security Concerns when Buying from Any Online Marketplace
There are several ways a con may try to get your personal information. From giving information about yourself in conversation to giving out your email or phone number, you may be giving more clues to someone than you expect. People may prefer to communicate through Facebook Messenger or a similar program instead of giving email or phone numbers that can be Googled for more information about you.
By sticking with a messenger program you know and trust, you can block anyone who seems up to no good or with whom you no longer want to communicate.
Never Meet at Your Home or Workplace, Always Meet in Public
When buying or selling with someone you don’t know, use a designated public meeting place that is well lit, where there will be other people and security cameras. Call your local police or fire station and ask them if they know of any recommended spots to meet up with Facebook Marketplace buyers and sellers.
After you leave, make sure you are not followed home. Sophisticated crooks may use more than one vehicle and as one is leaving, the other is following you. It’s always good to vary your route home or make another stop somewhere safe and keep an eye open to make sure you were not followed.
Exchange Cash for Goods at the Same Time
Do not give someone your item and allow them to make payments later because the likelihood is they will never pay you. This is a common scam. Also, don’t fall for the “check in the mail” bit because it is usually a con.
Is the cash counterfeit? Is their check any good? How about cash? What about a bank check? Consider your comfort level in receiving secure payment in your transaction. If you are comfortable using a mobile payment method, do it on-site and give the person the item once you have received confirmation you received the money free and clear.
Does Something Seem Not Right About Your Buyer or Seller?
Especially when people say they are in the middle of moving to our out of state, be on alert for scammers. While there are many honest people who do buy and sell things like couches and televisions while moving, this is a perfect story to spin to a scam victim.
When using Facebook Marketplace you can view the person’s profile. You may have to add them as a Facebook friend to see more detail. Try asking if you don’t mind adding them as a friend before setting up the sale. Look for the same red flags you would if you received a friend request with someone who has no friends, has a brand new profile, or something else just does not seem right.
Know What You are Buying or Selling and What it is Worth
You may see someone selling a vehicle on Facebook Messenger telling you they just moved into the city and no longer need it, or need to raise money to pay for a court fine or child support. Beware, even though people may need to buy or sell quickly, they usually do not buy or sell things way over or under fair market value.
Do some research and look up what similar items are worth on various sites, including Craigslist, where you should also beware of shady buyers and sellers.
Do Not Assume Other People’s Payments on Financed Items, Vehicles, or Property
What if you just got a new job and need a different vehicle to get to work. Maybe your credit is on the rebound and the car dealerships can’t help you. While it may be tempting to agree to take over another person’s payments on something, you should be very careful. Without understanding contract laws and remedies, you could end up getting in trouble. You might accidentally enter into a contract to receive stolen goods.
With too many scary examples to list, we recommend you stop and call Joseph Wrobel and talk to him about a concern that something may be a scam. Please also share this information with your friends and family who might be too trusting and need some street-smart tips on safety when buying and selling on Facebook Marketplace or anywhere else online.
Chicago Bankruptcy Attorney, Joseph Wrobel Wants You to Be a Safe Consumer
While our law firm is focused on bankruptcy protection, that is only part of our mission. We want everyone who knows us to come to us for tips and advice on buying, selling and making the best financial decisions for a bright and prosperous life.
For answers to any bankruptcy or consumer financial questions, call us at Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. at (312) 781-0996 and please remember to share this article with others and be smart buying and selling on Facebook Marketplace.
Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyer Joseph Wrobel Debunks Myths About Bankruptcy in Illinois
There are all kinds of myths about bankruptcy and the truth about bankruptcy gets more appealing when people learn how a bankruptcy case actually works. You can ask for a Chapter 7 full discharge or a Chapter 13 partial discharge and repayment plan. If you need to keep your home and car, we have options for you. When searching online for information about how bankruptcy in Illinois works, it is important to get your information from an experienced Chicago bankruptcy lawyer who can dispel myths about bankruptcy in Illinois.
Myths About Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Illinois
People worry about losing their property in bankruptcy in Illinois. Do not worry, because most of your important property asset exemptions. The Illinois Homestead Exemption allows you to keep up to $15,000 in equity in your home. The Illinois Motor Vehicle Exemption up to $2,400 in one motor vehicle is also allowed. You can also keep personal property up to $4,000. There are also exemptions for a list of additional categories.
Despite myths, you can keep your house and save your mortgage with Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13 you will repay a portion of your debts over a three to a five-year repayment plan. People might also think they do not qualify for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy because they make too much money. When people are looking for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy but they make too much money, they can file a Chapter 13 and enjoy its many benefits.
You can dismiss your bankruptcy at any time if your financial situations change, even if you are still in your Chapter 13 plan. You can also sell your home while in Chapter 13.
Bankruptcy will affect your credit score but it is not forever. Actually, Chapter 7 is on your credit report for 10 years and seven years for a Chapter 13. Meanwhile, despite what some think, your credit score can be repaired. After your bankruptcy discharge, you can get a secured credit card and start rebuilding your credit. The more you use credit responsibly, the quicker your score will rise.
People worry traditional credit card companies will never give you credit. Actually, as you rebuild your credit and you have fewer creditors after you, you are a better credit risk. A credit union knowing you had a bankruptcy, can make car loans based on your credit score and your current financial position.
Many people who had a bankruptcy get approved for mortgages within a few years of their bankruptcy. The Non-Prime Lenders website offers information about mortgage after bankruptcy.
People are worried about renting or buying an apartment or house after bankruptcy in Illinois. Do not worry about being out on the street. You can certainly rent a home or apartment after a bankruptcy, even if your credit score is not where you want it. Many larger rental companies frequently work with people in a bankruptcy or who recently completed a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 case. Sure, some smaller rental companies and individual owners with properties could deny you. But most will charge you a larger security deposit or ask for a co-signer. It is very rare to hear a case of someone not being able to rent a place to live during or after bankruptcy.
Some say you will never qualify for a mortgage after bankruptcy, and they are wrong. When you have more money to pay your bills, it can be easier to rebuild a good credit score for a mortgage in a few years. When you no longer have debts you are unable to pay, you are a better credit risk. If you are renting, you can improve your chances to get a better mortgage and lenders have options for buyers who had a bankruptcy.
The Myths About Employment and Bankruptcy
No, your employer cannot fire you because you filed for bankruptcy. Nor can an employer change anything about your employment because of a bankruptcy.
Public, government agencies may not use bankruptcy in the hiring process. Private employers are not likely to make hiring decisions based on whether someone had a bankruptcy. Private companies may ask to check your credit. While there may be certain special employment positions where bankruptcy could be a problem, for most people this is not a problem.
One of the common reasons people do file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is to avoid pending wage garnishment. Through the process of taking advantage of the bankruptcy laws to stop a wage garnishment, the employer receives a notice of the bankruptcy.
Call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. at (312) 781-0996 to Learn Answers to Myths About Bankruptcy in Illinois
Whatever your questions or concerns are about bankruptcy, call Joseph Wrobel. Ltd., the Chicago Bankruptcy Law Firm. Joseph Wrobel has been practicing consumer bankruptcy law for many years and has seen and heard just about everything. How do I start?
Every question you have is a good question. Call us to learn answers to myths about bankruptcy in Illinois by dialing (312) 781-0996.
Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., the Chicago Bankruptcy Law Firm Wishes Everyone a Happy Father’s Day in Chicago
While some say every day should be Father’s Day in Chicago, local dads take the opportunity to relax and enjoy their children and families. With all the rain and growth this spring and early summer in Chicago, dads all over the city and suburbs have logged more than average hours mowing and doing yard work to keep up.
Whether you are in good financial shape or considering financial relief from a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can have a great Father’s Day Weekend in Chicago with your kids and family! Wondering how to get started with bankruptcy and stop the collectors? Learn how to get started with bankruptcy.
Father’s Day in Chicago Activities
Chicago dads who love watching the Cubs or White Sox with their kids have games lined up all weekend. In Chicago, dads watch baseball with their sons and daughters, and many of them have their favorite ballplayers and baseball traditions. The forecast may call for rain so watching the game indoors or under a covered patio.
Go to a horse race at the Arlington International Racecourse. They have more than horse racing and betting, with kid-friendly activities appropriate for all ages, including a petting zoo and carnival activities.
Play catch with Dad on the Chicago Dogs’ Impact Field! Get there early because you have from 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. to get out there and play catch on the field before the Chicago Dogs game that starts at 1:05 p.m.
In South Elgin, the Fox River Trolley Museum is a must-visit attraction. Taking a trolley ride is great for family pictures and memories.
Get your hands on Hamilton tickets at the CIBC Theatre in Chicago. The biomusical about Alexander Hamilton is a must-see and provides for all kinds of follow-up discussion topics.
The Role Father’s Play in our Lives
Fathers teach their kids how to be good people. Fathers teach their children how to be team players and leaders. They show their sons and daughters how to love and respect themselves and others. Fathers are superheroes to their children.
As a father, you have to be like a superhero to always make your children feel safe, no matter what. Good parents keep their kids reasonably sheltered from adult problems. Financial troubles and strain can negatively affect kids who may have never otherwise thought or worried about money. So to all the dads who make it through tough times while wearing a strong face, you all deserve a great Father’s Day weekend with your families.
Fathers Handle Financial Stress and Pressure, Sometimes Bankruptcy
Financial emergencies happen to good people. Good Dads can lose their job. Great dads never let the kids see them sweat financial difficulties. Parents who discuss money in front of the children may be creating an unnecessary level of anxiety in children who don’t need to worry about adult matters. For example, children who do not understand what bankruptcy is could be upset about worries in their minds that they don’t share. Kids may not understand that bankruptcy does not mean ruin and it does not mean they will have to give up all their possessions. Who knows what kids might think if they overhear mom and dad talking about money problems and bankruptcy.
If you are facing a financial situation that includes a bankruptcy filing, or something is changing at home because of money, keep an eye on your kids. You know how to hint around at things and fish for their questions. You might also make a light mention of making some changes that are better for the family.
In any event, talk to others and look up advice from experts about dealing with parenting and financial issues and questions. At the very least, an effort to hide finances from children might make everyone happier.
Learning Financial Tips and Information from Fathers
Dads should teach their kids what they have learned and what their fathers taught them. For example, saving some of your paychecks for emergencies and future needs is something that starts early. When grandmother gives you money for your birthday, take some of it and put it in the piggy bank or savings account. Piggy banks are great because they get heavier and louder the more you fill them up.
Teaching children to earn their own money is important. Parents who gave their kids everything without them learning to work and earn may not be helping their children learn about earning money. The young kids who mow lawns and walk dogs for extra money can save up for things they want. You may be surprised how many kids get ideas on how to make money and start small businesses. Supporting your son or daughter’s lemonade stand today can give them the confidence they need to do whatever they want in the future.
Financial realities can change. Fathers can help their kids prepare for the reality of financial uncertainty. Explain with a game of Monopoly this Father’s Day Weekend in Chicago and let your kids understand money comes and money goes. What you do with the money in between sets up you up for security or peril. These are all good life lessons to teach children.
Happy Father’s Day Weekend to all Dads from Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., the Chicago Bankruptcy Firm
When Chicago area fathers need to take advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their families, they can call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., with convenient offices located in the Chicago-Loop, Chicago-Rosemont, and in the suburbs of Burr Ridge, Deerfield, Gurnee, Naperville, Orland Park, Schaumburg, Skokie, St. Charles and Westchester. They can represent Illinois clients in Cook County, Will County, DuPage County, Kane County, LaSalle County, Kendall County, and Lake County.
For a free consultation for bankruptcy information after Father’s Day Weekend in Chicago, call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., at (312) 781-0996.
Learn what you may not know about Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in this podcast. Listen to real questions from people trying to get out of financial trouble. People don’t always need bankruptcy to free them from financial troubles.
Please be kind and share this blog post and podcast with your social media friends, letting them know to check this blog post and podcast out if any of them want to learn about the protection against financial problems with the bankruptcy laws.
Listen and learn. Call Joseph Wrobel directly in Chicago at (312) 781-0996
Chicago bankruptcy and consumer credit attorney Joseph Wrobel shares news and updates in bankruptcy law as well as business and consumer financial matters. It has been documented that financial troubles can cause all sorts of ailments, the most common of which is sleeplessness. Joseph Wrobel helps clients alleviate their anxiety created by the inability to pay bills and the embarrassment of financial distress.
Chicago bankruptcy lawyer, Joseph Wrobel, has been a practicing attorney since 1973 and has experience in a wide variety of law relating to legal matters for individuals and families. Wrobel helps clients get out of debt and get a fresh start. He is an active member in several bar associations and the Bankruptcy Panel of Pro Bono Program of the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. After serving the U.S. Army Reserve 363rd Civil Affairs Unit, Wrobel earned a B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University and in 1973, he earned a JD from DePaul University Law School.
Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews from people who hired Chicago bankruptcy lawyer Joseph Wrobel to get rid of bad debt and get a fresh financial start.
500 Jobs Cut: May Need Career Retraining After Job Cuts and Bankruptcy May Be a Great Option
News reports say nearly 500 employees in the Chicago-area working for MB Financial Bank will be out of a job soon. The MB Financial job cuts are happening because Fifth Third Bank recently acquired MB Financial Bank in a $4.7 billion merger. 493 layoffs are expected in May, most of the job cuts taking place at the MB Financial location in Rosemont, and about a dozen in the downtown Chicago MB corporate headquarters. For many reasons some of the people who lose their jobs with MB Financial will need career retraining after job cuts.
A bank spokesman reported that most of the layoffs are coming in the next four months and others will occur over time through the rest of 2019 and 2020. The reason for the job cuts is a cost savings of $255 million, in part from closing one in five bank branch locations.
Trends we can follow after job cuts are announced indicate that more customer service jobs are going away because of the Internet and automation technology. If automated telephone answering software can understand you and help with basic account information and customer service, there is less need for a customer service representative. Likewise, if more people can get their banking information and handle basic transactions on their computers, handheld devices, and ATMs, the need for human customer service professionals decreases.
Could You Pay the Bills While Looking for a New Job?
The recent US Government Shutdowns were shocking to many people because they were unable to pay their rent, mortgages, credit cards, and utilities. Even though the federal employees temporarily laid off from their non-essential government positions were going to receive back pay, their cash flow was interrupted.
Could you pay the bills if you suddenly had to live without getting a paycheck on time? You may be able to get away with only paying the minimum due amounts on credit cards, and getting a month behind on utilities, but most likely you cannot get along too long without substantial savings.
Many of the workers affected by shutdowns waited for the government to reopen, and others immediately started looking for a new job. If you cannot pay the bills after a job cut you might be facing evictions, foreclosures, credit account default, and the shutoff of utilities.
There are two types of bankruptcy protection available to consumers with debts they cannot pay. First, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy helps to wipe out and discharge the responsibility to pay dischargeable debts. Note that not all debts are dischargeable. For example, child support is not a debt you can discharge in a bankruptcy case.
Second, a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is referred to as a wage earner’s plan. People with regular income can use Chapter 13 to develop a plan to repay a portion of their debts over a three to five year period. The problem workers facing job cuts may face is not having the regular income to qualify for a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, also referred to as a “reorganization” bankruptcy. It is important to talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney to learn how you can qualify for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
When you contact Joseph Wrobel, Limited at (312) 781-0996 you can share more information about your financial circumstances and get a better idea which bankruptcy laws you can take advantage of to help get you out of debt.
Stop the Bill Collectors with the Automatic Stay
One of the most exciting advantages of a bankruptcy filing is the Automatic Stay provision that stops collectors in their tracks. Simply put, when someone files for bankruptcy, creditors may no longer pursue any collection activity. Therefore, during the bankruptcy case, whether you have a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13, the bill collectors cannot communicate with you at all. No more phone calls, no more threatening letters.
The immediate ceasing of collection activity is just the first benefit of bankruptcy that many people can enjoy. Too often when people think about bankruptcy, they imagine companies going out of business and empty buildings. For consumers, bankruptcy is a right and a law designed to give people a fresh start, a chance to get back in control of money and finances.
Most people who file for bankruptcy will tell you that the anticipation of filing for bankruptcy was more stressful than actually moving forward and filing for Chapter 7 or 13. You may have a variety of questions about job cuts and bankruptcy.
Job Retraining Programs, Online, and Trade School Options
The chances are that some of the MB Financial employees losing their jobs are going to need career retraining after job cuts so they can get a new position, in a new career track. Workers in positions being reduced or replaced by technology and automation can change directions and pursue retraining for new positions that will be in demand and not in immediate danger of being cut.
When looking into career retraining options, consider some of the following steps you can take to make more money and increase job security:
Take a class to explore a new career field, to update a specific job skill or learn a new skill to make you more appealing to employers. By taking a class after being out of school for years, you show employers that you are flexible and interested in learning new skills.
Short-term training for new jobs is something you can pursue through certification programs, and certificate programs at local schools.
Begin a degree program and switch careers. You can plan your education and enroll in a degree program using financial aid tools which can also help pay for living expenses while pursuing higher education. Job cuts can be a disguised blessing.
Getting Financially Fit with Joseph Wrobel, Limited, the Chicago Bankruptcy Law Firm (312) 781-0996.
Even with bad news of job cuts, there are good opportunities behind the scenes. Some who wish for a higher paying job or career with more opportunities may get their wish in a job cut situation. The nearly 500 employees at MB Financial Bank can take advantage of one of their bankruptcy options while also pursuing retraining opportunities. To learn about bankruptcy or get some tips and leads on career retraining after job cuts, call Joseph Wrobel, Limited in Chicago at (312) 871-0996.
When Good People Fall Behind We Have Bankruptcy Options: Chapter 7 & Chapter 13
Car accidents happen when we least expect it. Hospital bills continue coming in the mail and it seems you owe more and more people every day. When you cannot pay your bills, your credit can suffer. You may have to use Bankruptcy to wipe out that debt to restore your good credit rating. It can take some time but it’s worth it.
Most families rely on at least two income sources to pay the mortgage or rent, and bills every month. The true cost of living in Chicago is significant. How long could you continue without a paycheck for a month or more?
You try to work with creditors and they get even more aggressive. They are not as sympathetic to your tales of woe, they hear it day in and out. More and more people use one of their bankruptcy options like Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.
The Stress of Paying Minimums and Barely Making It
The cost of living rising faster than wages makes it more difficult than ever to get ahead. Even with an adjusted expectation of the American dream, it seems impossible to save enough to get ahead. With added interest on unpaid debts, the balances due become ridiculous and people know they’ll never pay it off. Some ignore some bill collectors and eventually the calls stop. Then one day a new company picks up the debt and the phone with your number.
A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Can Eliminate Your Debts. A discharge applies qualified debts that you can eliminate in full when you qualify. To qualify, you have to pass the Means Test. Joseph Wrobel, Limited can help explain it all.
Or Use Chapter 13 Bankruptcy to Keep Your Home, Car and Reorganize Portions of Debt. Chapter 13 is the “reorganization” bankruptcy option to repay a portion of your debts over a three to five year period.
Creditor and Bill Collectors Endless Harassing Behavior
Yes, there are debt collection laws governing collection activity for debts owed for credit accounts, utilities, loans, mortgages, rent, and other financial obligations. For example, a bill collector is not allowed to call you during certain hours. There are also opt-out provisions and written communications you can send directing how you may be contacted within your rights under the law.
Stop the bill collectors with the Automatic Stay. Bankruptcy options with Chapter 7 & Chapter 13 include the Automatic Stay. Any bill collector or creditor who pursues collection activity against you during a bankruptcy violates federal law. They can’t call you, they can’t write to you, and they can’t garnish your wages or seize your bank account. You are free from creditors and bill collectors and their endless harassing behavior during either a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.
When is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Better Than Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
If you don’t qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy you probably qualify for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. To get a Chapter 7 you must qualify through what is called the Means Test, which involves a calculation of assets, debts and income sources.
Keep certain assets, property, using Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. You may have inherited family heirlooms, cars, property, and other assets and they are valuable to you. Sometimes you can’t put a value on memories and sentimental possessions.
Do I Need to Have Enough Debt to File for Bankruptcy?
People ask me if they owe enough to qualify for Bankruptcy. You do not need to be severely behind or have a mountain of debt a mile high to qualify for a Bankruptcy. Call Joseph Wrobel, Limited at (312) 781-0996 to learn more about the process.
Means testing is what we use at Joseph Wrobel, Limited, to qualify you for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy or Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. When you come and meet with us, we can tell you whether we can put you in Chapter 7 or 13 and then you decide which bankruptcy options fit your needs.
What Happens After Bankruptcy, Will I Get Good Credit Again?
Lending people money is good for the economy and business growth, and after bankruptcy, you are a better lending risk because you have less or no debt. Get a secured credit card because you put the deposit money up front so you are automatically accepted. Use only a portion of the balance available on the new credit card and pay it down to a lower amount just before the end of the closing date. We can help you with all kinds of credit rebuilding tips right here on the Joseph Wrobel, Limited website.
Credit rebuilding after Bankruptcy is easy and rewarding. Whether you use your right to either of your bankruptcy options in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 you are going to be in a better position to rebuild your credit after your bankruptcy is discharged, however, you file. People often say the anticipation of rebuilding their credit was worse than actually doing it.
Why Use Joseph Wrobel, Limited for Your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Joe knows Bankruptcy. For over 40 years he has helped people be able to sleep through the night again. Over many years, men and women and their families from all over Chicagoland have come to us seeking help for their financial woes. We know that bad financial situations happen to good people, despite their best efforts and hard work.
Call us to find out if bankruptcy makes sense to you. We review your finances to help you understand all your options. At Joseph Wrobel, Limited we want you to be the one to make the decision whether to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.
Call Joseph Wrobel, Limited in Chicago at (312) 781-0996 and learn more about your Bankruptcy options, Chapter 7 & Chapter 13 and protect yourself and your family.
Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment and Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness
Student loan debt, second only to mortgages, is the leading debt category for consumers. The rising cost of college tuition and living expenses causes many students to apply for student loans to cover more of the tuition and expenses students cannot afford. When graduating, many students have significant debt.
“The average student in the Class of 2016 has $37,172 in student loan debt. The average student in the Class of 2017 has almost $40,000 in student loan debt.”[i] The student loans for doctors and many healthcare professionals are significantly higher and have monthly payment amounts equal to the amount of monthly of mortgage payments.
For others who are not healthcare professionals, skip down to the section of this article about Public Student Loan Forgiveness for government and nonprofit employees.
Too many young healthcare graduates can’t pay student loans and maintain a standard of living.
The rising cost of living coupled with slow to rise wages and hourly pay, too many young graduates may have to chose among paying student loans or their basics daily needs. As a result, many must use limited forbearance time and or not pay their loans.
Meanwhile there is another solution for healthcare professionals that also combats opioid addiction!
“Physicians, nurses, pharmacists, midwives, physician assistance, behavioral health professionals and substance abuse disorder counselors, among others”[ii] are eligible to apply for student loan repayment.
Eligible applicants who complete the program can qualify for up to $37,500 worth of loan forgiveness or for up to $75,000 worth of loan forgiveness depending on their participation in a part-time or full-time service in identified underserved communities.
Struggling neighborhoods and communities fight the opioid epidemic with whatever they have, and it is not enough. Young healthcare professional graduates excited about this loan repayment program have a unique opportunity to work off their student loans by serving in an approved substance use disorder site. The approved substance use disorder sites are in health professional shortage areas.
NHSC Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Programs Require 3 Year Commitments
Three years of full-time service, working in an under-served neighborhood substance use disorder site can earn the qualified healthcare professional up to $75,000 in loan repayment. For healthcare professionals who cannot work full-time but can make part-time commitments, they can receive up toe $37,500 for their service to members of communities who might otherwise become a daily statistic.
“Every day, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), more than 130 people die due to opioid-related drug overdoses.[iii]”
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Programs for City, State and Federal Employees
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is for federal student loans for all types of employees work in public service. Employees who have jobs with a government or not-for-profit organizations can use the tools on the U.S. Department of Education Federal Student Aid website to learn more to see whether they might qualify.
Generally, qualified applicants work full-time a government agency or approved nonprofit, have Direct Loans on an income-driven repayment plan and make 120 qualifying payments.
What if I don’t have a healthcare job or work for a government or nonprofit employer?
People with student loans who do not qualify for the Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment or the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program can still take advantage of Federal Student Aid repayment plans to ease the financial burden on borrowers who are growing their careers and small businesses to be better able to pay off their student loans in the future.
When your federal student loan payment schedule is high compared to your income, an income-driven repayment plan can help you stay current with your student loans while your ability to pay is less than you would otherwise like.
Consult a Tax Expert with Questions About Student Loan Forgiveness Plans
When certain types of debts are forgiven there can be a tax liability. For example, when credit card companies agree to “write off” a percentage of the debt you owe, that “forgiven” amount can be taxable and be included as income on your tax return.
Always determine the details of any tax liability for any student loan repayment or forgiveness plan, whether a federal student loan or a private student loan.
If Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Helps You with Student Loans, Call us at Joseph Wrobel, Ltd.
A Chapter 13 “reorganization bankruptcy” allows you to enter a repayment plan to pay back portions of your debts over a three to five-year period. You can include your student loans in your monthly repayment plan.
Despite all our best efforts and hard work, bad things can happen to all good people and everyone deserves a fresh start and to take advantage of the bankruptcy laws that were passed in order to help us in a time of financial need. Contact us through our website or call us at Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. in Chicago at (312) 781-0996 to set an appointment to talk about your financial questions and to help you determine if a bankruptcy would make sense to you and would help give you relief from your financial woes.
Bankruptcy for Unpaid Workers in Chicago Who Run Out of Money
The current government shutdown causes people to ask themselves what would happen if they did not receive their paycheck for several weeks or longer. For families living on budgets, not receiving pay means the bills are not going to be paid. Unpaid workers without savings to temporary replace regular income can lose their homes, cars and credit cards if payments are delinquent.
Even though currently unpaid government workers are promised to receive their back pay after the shutdown, they may not be paying their mortgage, rent, car payment, student loans, utilities and other financial obligations. How long would you be able to continue without pay and the immediate need to get another source of income.
In many cases the unpaid workers with specialized work skills and experience cannot find another job very easily, and not at the same pay grade.
Examples of Situations Causing Unpaid Workers Who Consider Bankruptcy
Workers are unpaid for a variety of reasons. Layoffs happen in manufacturing due to slow business or problems. Companies with a cash flow problem may not be able to pay their workers on time. Sometimes a struggling company does not have enough money in the bank for all the payroll checks to clear. In other cases, the employers accounts could be seized or frozen. For people working as contractors for others, one party may refuse to pay because they have an issue with the work not being performed correctly. In each of these scenarios, the unpaid employee still needs to pay their bills.
Unless workers have several months of bill paying money set aside for cash flow emergencies, they may be considering their bankruptcy options. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies have features and options that will help people and their families.
The Automatic Stay Provision of the Bankruptcy Code Stops Creditors from Contacting You
Creditors and bill collectors are aggressive and persistent. Economic conditions like a government shutdown mean that many workers will not get their paychecks. After the bills come due and are not paid, collectors have options. Some waive late fees and extend due dates. Temporary relief runs out at some point. Aggressive bill collectors want you to pay them before you pay someone else. They will call you and send extra past due notices in the mail. When friends or relatives listed as references on loans getting phone calls about you not paying your bill it can be embarrassing and aggravating.
The “Automatic Stay” stops bill collectors in their tracks. When either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is filed, including a list of all the creditors the filer may owe, those creditors receive notice that they may not continue any collection activity so long as the bankruptcy case is ongoing.
Save your home from foreclosure and sale by filing for bankruptcy, taking advantage of the automatic stay. The bankruptcy postpones foreclosures and sales.
For some unpaid workers a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case might have already been on their mind. When people have debt, they cannot afford to pay, when they are making less income than before, and when the outlook for paying off all the debt is bleak, a fresh start with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can make a major difference for a family struggling with money and bills.
The point someone who already has financial troubles doesn’t receive their paycheck, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will help. Eliminate the credit card debt, the payments for a car worth less than owed. Eliminate the mortgage on the house that is too big and expensive.
When people start over after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, they can control their budgets and not get behind in debt. And when people no longer owe money to so many creditors, they become a better credit risk. Rebuilding credit after a bankruptcy takes some time but is easier than people think.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be attractive to unpaid workers who expect to receive their back pay but who need temporary protection from collections and foreclosures. When you file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy you can “cure” your mortgage default by making up past payments over months.
A Chapter 13 “reorganization” bankruptcy can last three to five years, giving the unpaid employee time to catch up on debts when the paychecks stopped coming for whatever reason.
One misconception about Chapter 13 is that every dollar owed must be repaid. In fact, depending on a person’s financial calculations, they may only have to repay a percentage of the amount owed.
To save your home, car and other assets you don’t want liquidated, call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. and learn where you stand and for which type of bankruptcy you qualify. Call day or night (312) 781-0996.
Joseph Wrobel Can Help if Bankruptcy Makes Sense and Will Help Unpaid Workers Get a Fresh Start
When you call Chicago bankruptcy lawyer Joseph Wrobel and make an appointment at one of the conveniently located offices around the Chicago area you are taking the next step in finding out if bankruptcy is the right thing to save you from money problems.
At your meeting with Joseph Wrobel when your financial information is processed, he will tell you about your options under the bankruptcy law. If you or a friend is an unpaid employee because of a shutdown, lack of business, layoff or any reason, contact online or call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. today and get the information about bankruptcy for unpaid workers, to turn off the bill collectors and turn on your fresh financial start. The main Chicago office telephone number is (312) 781-0996.