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Pittsburgh Legal Issues Blog

Credit where credit is overdue

A recent report on the second quarter issued by the Federal Reserve Bank is creating some concern among economists. The data released on August 15 reveals that in the wake of a strong economy and lower interest rates, credit card delinquencies continue to grow.

For the first time since the 2009 financial crisis, the economy saw a year-over-year rise in debtors falling behind on credit card payments. That rise in delinquencies is running concurrent with an increase in overall household debts.

Top 4 reasons people wind up in debt

Have you recently looked at your finances and asked yourself, "How did I get here?" Many people have found themselves drowning in debt in Pittsburgh. From long periods of unemployment to unexpected medical expenses, there are a number of reasons why people end up overextended and carrying a heavy burden of debt.

When you find yourself in this kind of situation, it will not help to ignore the debt and pray it goes away. There are many ways to get your debt under control and paid down, including filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Your attorney will be able to help you choose an option that suits your specific circumstances. Understanding the top causes of debt will help you avoid falling into the same traps in the future.

Is Public Service Loan Forgiveness not so forgiving after all?

Established a decade ago, Public Service Loan Forgiveness served as a "broad, employment-based forgiveness program for federal student loans,” as described in an internal blog. The PSLF allowed government or nonprofit workers to have their loans erased after 10 years, provided they made on time payments.

Ten years later, the first group of borrowers participating in the program is waiting to have their loans forgiven in the fall of this year as they have been led to believe.

Think twice before consolidating debt

Debt consolidation advertisements have become ubiquitous with today’s emerging economy. You probably recognize how they begin with a consoling message about a “secret” that debt collection companies don’t want you to know, and that you don’t have to pay all your debts…and that you don’t need bankruptcy. 

Debt consolidation is tempting because who wouldn’t want to get out of debt as quickly as possible. After all, rounding up random bills (that may or may not get paid every month) and combine them into one low monthly payment sounds like a great idea. The problem is that getting creditors to agree to take less is not so easy or certain, and a consolidation plan cannot exist without all creditors buying in. This may be especially difficult given that creditors know more people are back to work and are able to pay back their debt. 

Which type of bankruptcy is right for your circumstances?

If you're considering bankruptcy, you're probably doing some research on your own to see what options you have. With bankruptcy, there's good news and bad news.

The good news is, if you qualify for a bankruptcy filing, you can legitimately discharge significant amounts of debt and create a clean start for yourself, financially speaking. The bad news is that if you enter into a bankruptcy procedure without fully understanding the process or without proper legal guidance, you may end up worse off than you were before.

Student loan debt: A rush to garnishment

When past-due or defaulted debts goes into collections, debtors must deal powerful agencies able to employ vast resources to secure the money they are owed. Their aggressive, sometimes harassing tactics make life miserable for those already struggling to make ends meet.

Few collection agencies are more influential and enjoy more resources than the federal government. Investigators and regulators at the federal and state level are now accusing the United States Education Department of abusing that power.

A bride's plight: Not dressed up with someplace to go

Business bankruptcy has wide-ranging consequences for both the companies that file and the patrons who generated their revenue. A sudden announcement usually results in chaos that leaves everyone scrambling and seeking resolution.

A recent filing is having an effect on getting soon-to-be-married couples getting to the church on time.

Getting the most out of bankruptcy is all about the details

Each year, thousands of people initiate bankruptcy procedures. Unfortunately, many of these individuals don't truly get the most out of the process, either because they do not complete the requirements, or because they do not have proper guidance to help them identify nuances in the law that can work in their favor.

This principle applies to creditors, too. Recently, a bankruptcy court ruled that a creditor could not pursue repayment because they did not file a claim in the proper timeframe.

A new era in credit reporting

Credit bureaus have long been the target of lawmakers, federal regulators and consumers for their error-filled credit reporting. While there have been some improvements, a new plan could not only reduce scrutiny on the bureaus, but also improve their image with consumers.

The start of the new month represents the beginning of new protections for those suffering from the consequences of low credit scores. The changes could help reduce reporting errors that prevent them from securing everything from credit cards to jobs.

With or without insurance coverage, medical debt is growing

A sudden illness or injury is often the catalyst to file bankruptcy. As medical costs continue to rack up during recovery, savings shrink and credit cards max out. Second, third and fourth jobs are necessary to manage seemingly unmanageable bills.

The statistics alone on this burdensome debt is staggering, particularly one that cites one in 20 Americans carrying balances equal to the other 19 combined.

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