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Overwhelming Credit card debt and I'm disabled and my husband lost his job. What do we do?

North Augusta, SC |

I am 40 disabled and my husband is unemployed receiving unemployment benefits, he was laid off because of the housing downturn. Well as a result of him losing his job we got very behind on credit card payments, we are struggling to pay the rest that are up to date but can't even buy groceries or anything else for that matter, my mother has helped with groceries but I feel like a total loser having my 70 year old mother having to help us survive. I had to completely stop paying 4 of my cards. My husband and I filed for a Chapter 7 in 2005 which of course won't be dismissed for several more years. And yes I've finally learned my lesson with credit cards and so has he. We can't pay an attorney, and we can hardly pay any monthly bills I don't know how in the world we could pay a repayment plan on a Chapter 13 bankrupty, are thier any alternatives that know of.

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Attorney answers 2


Note that I am not licensed to practice in your state.

I'm sad to say that I don't believe you have learned your lesson. If you had learned your lesson from your first bankruptcy, you wouldn't have credit card balances to pay off at all. During the time from 2005 when you declared bankruptcy till recently, both you and your husband was getting an income stream. Your income only recently stopped due to no fault of your own. Therefore, the balances on those 4 cards are due to your own spending practices and specifically, spending beyond your means. If you cannot pay down a credit card in full at the end of the month, then you are spending more than you make and that is a recipe for diaster - as you have seen twice now.

I'm sorry to say that another chapter 7 bankruptcy is not an option for you now. If you cannot afford to pay your credit card bills and maintain basic needs, then you have to stop making payments to the credit card companies and devote your spending to necessities instead. Those credit card balances will be there and they will continue to accrue interest.

Hopefully you will be able to get a new job (or jobs) soon and get back on your feet. However, have you truly learned your lesson? Only time will tell.


Like anyone in difficult circumstances, you have to prioritize. Ask yourself whether struggling to pay your credit cards while you "can't even buy groceries" is the right priority. If, as you say, neither Chapter 7 bankruptcy nor Chapter 13 bankruptcy is an option, and you don't have adequate income or assets to negotiate settlements or payment plans with your creditors, then focus your efforts (and your limited funds) where they're most needed: for most people that means keeping a roof over your head, keeping food on the table, and keeping the heat running.

Remember, though, that just because there's no "quick fix" doesn't mean that there's no fix. With a little luck (and a lot of perseverance) your husband may be back at work soon, and then you can explore your options for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, negotiating settlements or payment plans with your creditors, or just chipping away at this debt.