Older adults in Connecticut could be at risk of bankruptcy because of medical debt. When people who are older file for bankruptcy as a result of medical bills, they have usually run out of savings. Many are either not working at all or working reduced hours, so their income is limited. In 1991, just 2% of bankruptcy filers were 65 and over compared to 12% now.
Connecticut residents who have bills that they are unable to pay often deal with daily phone calls or letters from banks, credit card companies and debt collectors, but state law places strict limits on how long creditors can pursue unpaid debts in court. The statute of limitations for unpaid debts is six years in Connecticut, but consumers who are struggling with unmanageable financial situations are sometimes confused about this timeline and when the clock starts to run.
Many people in Connecticut are struggling to make ends meet. They may suffer significant credit problems as well as collector calls and ongoing harassment when dealing with substantial amounts of unrepayable debt. While personal bankruptcy can offer a path to relief, many may be hesitant to take the step to file because they are concerned about the effects on their credit reports. People who are unable to pay their bills may already be suffering from bad credit scores, and the effects of bankruptcy can be different depending on each person's situation.
People in Connecticut and across the country are facing an increasing burden of credit card balances. According to a credit card debt study by WalletHub, Americans began 2019 owing over $1 trillion in credit card bills. In the second quarter of 2019, consumers nationwide accumulated $35.6 billion in credit card debt, a national record for a one-quarter increase in debt. Over the year to come, the study estimated that another $70 billion in debt would be accumulated. Connecticut ranked 26th in the country in terms of debt accumulated, falling roughly in the middle of the pack.
Military veterans in Connecticut may be at particular risk for financial problems and challenges in their years after leaving the armed services. These challenges can be exacerbated for disabled veterans who rely on military benefits to pay the bills. Veterans may find themselves facing significant debt that they are unable to repay, and filing for bankruptcy can be an important way to seek relief. Around 15% of filers for both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy are military veterans; however, veterans comprise only 10% of the overall population. In 2017 alone, around 125,000 American veterans filed for personal bankruptcy.
Debtors who are thinking about bankruptcy will generally choose between filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 protection. Connecticut residents who want to pursue a Chapter 7 case will need to take a means test to verify that they cannot repay their debts. If an applicant passes a means test, assets will be liquidated with any money raised going to repay creditors.
When people in Connecticut are dealing with piles of unpayable bills or aggressive collection calls, they may be looking for a solution that allows them to obtain some debt relief. Bankruptcy can provide people with a new start that enables them to escape a mountain of debt. There are some credit consequences, but many people who turn to bankruptcy have already suffered serious hits to their credit. However, there are different types of personal bankruptcy. Each may be appropriate for people in different situations.
For many people in Connecticut, it is very difficult to pay off their credit card bills on a monthly basis. With high interest rates, people may find that their balances continue to rise. This can be especially true for people who have suffered a financial change since they first began to accumulate credit card debt.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports that more than 70 million people nationwide have at one time or another had to deal with debt collectors. Around one-quarter of people said they felt threatened by the collection agency during their interactions. In such situations, it can seem like the creditors have all the power, but there are things people in Connecticut can do to respond to debt collection actions.
Some Connecticut consumers may be among the more than 20% who say they do not know whether or not they have credit card debt. An online survey of over 1,000 consumers by U.S. News & World Report also found that almost one-quarter of respondents had over $10,000 in credit card debt. Another quarter said they kept a revolving balance of around $2,000.