As Americans shelter in place due to COVID-19, almost 22 million people across the nation have filed unemployment claims, and the numbers continue to rise. A report released in late March projected that the total number of jobless Americans could reach 47 million, a roughly 32% unemployment rate.
With over half of Americans saying they’ve lost income due to the coronavirus, people are concerned about their ability to pay for bills, rent, groceries, and other essentials. For many, declaring bankruptcy may be the solution that is top of mind. However, it is essential to consider all of the available options and to understand the bankruptcy process before making a decision.
When a person is faced with overwhelming debt, they have the following three options:
- Pay the minimum on all bills and stay current
- Negotiate a settlement with the lenders
- File for bankruptcy
Generally, bankruptcy should not be filed immediately. First, work with the bank and loan servicers to see if they are willing to lower or defer payments. In the current COVID-19 situation, several assistance programs have been rolled out by banks, lawmakers, and regulators. Pursuing such options may enable people to recover without having to file for bankruptcy.
In some cases, however, bankruptcy is unavoidable. Generally, people either file for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 is the most common type of bankruptcy filing. According to CNBC, “A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is all about selling anything valuable you own — a second vehicle, a vacation home, collectibles, stocks, bonds — to pay off your debts. Generally, this type of bankruptcy wipes out all of your outstanding debts once a judge approves your filing in court. The whole process typically takes about three to five months.” Chapter 7 bankruptcy covers debts including medical expenses, credit card bills, certain tax debts, auto loans, utility bills, personal loans, business debts, civil judgments, collection accounts, and past due rent. This form of bankruptcy is recommended for people with unmanageable unsecured debt who cannot pay back all or a significant portion of what they owe.
Siddons Law Firm, a bankruptcy attorney in Media, PA, offers zero down bankruptcy filing. Zero down bankruptcy does not cost money upfront, and payments can be spread out over time. Not many attorneys offer this option. When clients work with Siddons Law Firm, they will owe no interest payments and will not have to pay additional court fees. They can make weekly or monthly payments starting thirty days after filing. Eligible parties must be employed full or part-time, make at least $25,000 in annual gross income, and pass the ‘MEANS test.’ The MEANS test weighs the debtor’s monthly income against his or her expenses to see whether it is possible for the debts to be paid.
Siddons Law Firm will walk alongside each client throughout the whole filing process, enabling him or her to start over and get ahead for the future. Filing with Siddons Law Firm will give people who are financially unable to stay afloat a life preserver that will provide them with a new outlook on life.
Siddons Law Firm empowers people to live with financial freedom and embrace the peace associated with escaping the burden of debt. The legal team has represented public government, financial institutions, banking institutions, Fortune 500 companies, property management companies, and real estate developers. Based in Pennsylvania, the firm has additional offices located in Rising Sun, MD and Staten Island, NY.