Philadelphia Bankruptcy Lawyer for Veterans
The men and women who serve in our military deserve to enjoy financial security. Unfortunately, despite making tremendous sacrifices in defense of our nation, U.S. veterans carry a heavier debt burden than most other segments of the population. According to a recent report by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, the average military family has more debt and higher monthly expenses than other households, while simultaneously having fewer assets. For thousands of military veterans and active duty personnel who live in Pennsylvania, everyday life is a financial struggle.
If you or your spouse is a veteran or active member of the military, and debt is becoming an unbearable strain on your financial resources, bankruptcy may offer relief. When handled skillfully by an experienced attorney, bankruptcy can reduce or eliminate debt, protect your belongings from repossession, and potentially even save your home from foreclosure. However, due to the complexity of bankruptcy laws, it’s important to have guidance from a knowledgeable attorney who has handled cases like yours, and who understands the unique financial challenges that arise for veterans and active duty servicemembers.
For a free legal consultation about filing Chapter 7, filing Chapter 13, or exploring the alternatives to bankruptcy, call the Philadelphia bankruptcy attorneys of Sadek and Cooper Law Offices, LLC at (215)-545-0008. We are available around the clock, and will keep your information confidential.
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Erase Medical Debt by Filing for Bankruptcy in PA
Whether they serve in the Air Force, the Army, the Marine Corps, the Navy, or other branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, many servicemembers sustain injuries or develop disorders that require costly medical treatment. Depending on the severity of an injury or illness, the person may require weeks, months, or years of expensive care. In some cases, disabled veterans may require medical care for the rest of their lives.
Due to combat-related injuries and illnesses, such as amputations, traumatic brain injuries, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), many veterans incur large amounts of medical debt. In fact, according to a recent report by Becker’s Hospital Review, veterans accounted for “a majority” of the medical debt collection complaints received by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2015. For many of the veterans living in Philadelphia, relentless creditor harassment is a daily reality.
If you are deeply in debt because of treatment for combat injuries, filing for bankruptcy could be an effective solution. Bankruptcy allows filers to “discharge,” or erase, medical debt resulting from surgeries, hospital admission, examinations, medications, and a wide variety of other medical costs. If you follow the bankruptcy court’s rules, and obey the state and federal laws regulating bankruptcy procedures, you will have the opportunity to reduce or even erase your medical debt.
Chapter 7 vs. 13: What is the Difference?
While there are many types of bankruptcy, most filers choose either Chapter 7 (called “straight” or “ordinary” bankruptcy) or Chapter 13 (called “reorganization” bankruptcy). Chapter 7 is slightly more common, but both chapters are used by thousands of Pennsylvanians every year.
If you file Chapter 7, you will enter a “liquidation” process. You will not have to make any further payments to your creditors while the bankruptcy is pending. However, a Chapter 7 trustee will be appointed to sell some of your property. The proceeds from the sale help repay your creditors. After approximately four to six months, the court will discharge your case, and you will be able to wipe out any remaining medical debt.
Even though Chapter 7 is a liquidation process, you will likely be able to keep most or even all of your property, for two reasons:
- You may be able to protect certain belongings by using bankruptcy exemptions strategically.
- The trustee may decide not to sell certain properties, depending on their value.
Chapter 13 is a slower, more complicated process than Chapter 7. However, depending on the situation, Chapter 13 may be the more better option for you. If you file Chapter 13, you will be required to make monthly payments to the Chapter 13 trustee, who will then distribute your payments among your creditors. This “reorganization” process will continue for three to five years, depending on the details of your case. As long as you make your payments in full and on time, you can retain all of your property, including your vehicle. You can even stop your home from being foreclosed on. When you complete your reorganization plan, the court will discharge the remaining debts.
Regardless of whether you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you will have the opportunity to reduce or erase multiple types of debt. In addition to wiping out medical debt, you will also be able to wipe out credit card debt, business debt, debt from personal loans, debt from past-due rent or utility bills, and many other sources of debt. Be advised, however, that debts from alimony and child support cannot be wiped out. Income tax debt and student loan debt may be wiped out, but must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Can Eliminate Credit Card Bill Debt
For some individuals who already find themselves facing the harsh financial consequences of credit card debt, Chapter 7 bankruptcy frequently presents a viable and expedient means of eliminating debt. One immediate and additional bonus that Chapter 7 bankruptcy filers can enjoy is the automatic stay. They automatic stay is a type of temporary injunction that requires creditors to immediately cease most collection attempts. This means that bill collector calls to your home and work will cease. It also means that these debts will be handled through a process that is guided by and overseen by a bankruptcy court.
Aside from the relief provided immediately by the automatic stay, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is typically one of the most effective ways of dealing with unsecured debt. Unsecured debt is any type of debt that is not secured by the property. To illustrate, credit cards and medical bills are common forms of unsecured debts while a home mortgage is one of the most common forms of secured debt. In many instances, where factors and circumstances align in a favorable manner, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filer can obtain their bankruptcy discharge and fresh financial start in as little as six months.
Philadelphia Bankruptcy Attorney for Military Veterans and Active Duty Service Members
Everyday tasks can become major stressors when you are living with the constant weight of debt on your shoulders. Bankruptcy can provide relief by erasing your debts, protecting you from debt collectors, and potentially, protecting your most cherished belongings, including your home and car. By wiping away stubborn debts, bankruptcy can also give you breathing room to rebuild good credit, putting you into position for a brighter financial future.
To learn more about the benefits of Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 for military veterans and active duty servicemembers, call the Philadelphia bankruptcy attorneys of Sadek and Cooper Law Offices, LLC at (215)-545-0008 for a free bankruptcy consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help you get back on your feet.