If your only income is $430 per month SSI then you are likely judgment proof. To make that determination, however, we also need to take a look at any assets you might have, for example a free and clear car. Being judgment proof means that you will have a judgment against you for, potentially, up to 20 years. It also means a BIG hit to your credit. Chances are that you qualify for Chap 7 bankruptcy, but that is a detailed analysis that needs to be made after a consultation. Most bankruptcy attorneys will provide a free consultation. Some (my office included) will also allow you to pay your bankruptcy fee in installments, although we cannot file until the retainer is paid in full.
Definitely take advantage of the free consultation if for no other reason than to fully evaluate whether you are judgment proof.
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Since the creditor can't "do anything to you" but aggravate you. I suggest you get on the legal aide waiting list and get a bankruptcy filed through them. Good luck.
Be sure to designate "best answer." If you live in Oregon, you may call me for more detailed advice, 503-650-9662. Please be aware that each answer on this website is based upon the facts, or lack thereof, provided in the question. To be sure you get complete and comprehensive answers, based upon the totality of your situation, contact a local attorney who specializes in the area of law that involves your legal problem. Diane L. Gruber has been practicing law in Oregon for 26 years, specializing in family law, bankruptcy, estate planning and probate. Note: Diane L. Gruber does not represent you until a written fee agreement has been signed by you and Diane L. Gruber, and the fee listed in the agreement has been paid.
Get on the waiting list for the Legal Aid. They can file a bankruptcy or respond to your lawsuit, whichever is your best course of action. If you were served with the lawsuit and have only 20 days to respond, I would tell Legal Aid this information, and they might try to make an appointment for you faster. You can also try contacting your local bar association to see if there are any attorneys who take cases on a pro bono basis in your area.