Life After Bankruptcy

Well, my husband and I used to have way more debt than we do now.  We filed for bankruptcy a while ago and since then, life has been easier in some ways, more difficult in others.

We still have tons of student loans to pay off and I have run out of forbearance time.  I don't know what else to do except go back to school part time.  We can't afford to pay them right now... I am the only one working while my husband goes to school.  So my measly paycheck sustains 3 people!  Although, not very well at times... one paycheck goes to rent, the other goes to daycare and bills.  I don't know how we've made it work, but we have.

I hate living like this.  I just want everything to be paid off.  The student loan people keep calling me and I don't know how else I can tell them that I can't afford it!!  I don't qualify for a low-income deferment.  Apparently, I make to much money for that.  I guess they weren't counting on people having to support 3 people on what I make. 

But what really angers me is that I am only over the poverty line by, like $70 annually.  We found that out when we applied for food stamps and got rejected.  They recommended we have another child so that we would qualify.  Idiots.  Seriously though... I could qualify for all kinds of state and federal help if I took a pay cut or got a divorce.  We would be living better if I was making less money, or if we never got married.  That is just plain nonsense.
frontier frontier
31-35, F
37 Responses Sep 29, 2007

My fellow EP friends and American's you are not alone. What was once the middle class is soon to be no longer. It matters not how educated (with or without a degree, although a degree helps, but it also pushes you beyond the " bottom line" of profit margins for a company to reach its greed goal of the almighty dollar in terms of PROFIT. For those who venture to be self employed with your own business you become subjected to insurmountable wave of business fees, insurance, and taxes that there is no way to swim or jump into the black and will remain in the red "accounting perspective" ultimately to drown in expenses with little non profits.
As the population grows and influx of people of all walks of life trying to come to America under the principle of land of opportunity of the 50's through the 80's... The facts is America is not the country it used to be and our government is not what it use to be. The Great Depression of the 20's was horrible, however the country did not have the population that is has now. 2008 was its own unique tragedy and example of our country's financial status and the ability for big corp's to take advantage of us.
I regret to inform that unless something major truly and honestly changes in the way our currency and government is "governed" the next crisis will be more devastating to ALL than the 1920's and 2008 combined.
I suggest all who are capable to adjust your individual lifestyle in an attempt to live below your means, cut up the credit cards, begin to make your own produce in a small home garden, and start learning a craft or two to be able to provide a small humble product or service so that you can barter, trade, or trade in currency from a "community approach", because it will be a way of life soon.
I too am near bankruptcy. I have a disabled veteran wife and we have been battling the VA claim since 2004. Thankfully we now have secured legal counsel who is 110% engaged in the disability compensation for her service. BUT the battle may very be another 10 years which will be too late.
Bless you all and fight the good fight. Work smarter not harder.

Good luck to you all.

Well first don't worry about it after 7 coz you can't do anything with it except worry. And know someone else is always in a worst position than you. Pay off what you can but make sure you have enough left to feed the family.

I was down 2m of my country currency 5 years ago now I am down 500k it's a slow process to get back and aging does not help at all.

You live and learn you become more cautious!

hi frontier, my name is Samuel and i want to help you out...i can do that if only you permit me to... can you check out right now for me... "" and what ever happens let me know. God Bless You...

Life sure is screwed up with the way goverments marginalize people that try to work their way out of debt but pay people not to try.

Also I have credit cards that have shrank my credit limit even though I made the payments evert month and my min payment is $140.00 in interest. I have dug a hole for myself as well and wonder what to do..the credit card companies refuse to agree to anything in a way making it look like they want you to file bankruptcy.

I am a Paralegal and used to handle bankruptcy cases. I can not give legal advise but it appears filing bankruptcy is not as bad as it appears. Once you get a discharge, you can't file for another 8 or 10 years and bank's will start to provide credit. I think you have to wait a few years before buying a home.

I guess this is what looks like everyone's future sooner or later.. Sigh such depressing times X_X

we have the same backward thinking here in england too =/

Life's just not fair.

Ugh, reading stories like this makes me depressed and want to run away. It makes me wonder if this could be my future.

The advise they gave you to have another baby is crazy. They should have been more helpful than that. I can't get over it that people like that run the welfare.

I'm scared right now. I have over 24,000 in debt and a non paid off car and school loans all included. I can't find a job and have been out of work for a little over three months! I don't want to lose what I have through bankruptcy because i have great credit so far and this will ruin it! I want to get a decent job to at least cover these expenses so I can go back to school. Any suggestions? Thanks on advance:)

Sorry you are going through this.. I have been in the position for medical insurance where having another baby would have made sence..

apalled that social service workers would reccomend you add another life just to "cheat" the system. A better idea? present the facts point blank to your HR office, and ask for a pay cut of $100 a year. That penny an hour could really make a difference! We, too, were often told we are just above the minimum FPL... tough to take when you and your spouse are going on 18 months of unemployment and you've got 18 month old twins and a 2 year old running around!

I have seen some people bounced back from bankruptcy .... and I know there are some people out there who can help ....

Without taking a pay cut a lot of firms have flexible hours policies could you consider dropping an hour or so which will take you below the support level, giving you a little more quality time at home.Possibly naive as i dont know the US system but it would be an option in the UK - Danni

I don't know what country you are in but here in the US there is a very little known law that allows you to get rid of your student loans through bankruptcy if you can prove the payments are a detriment to your family

I was very ill for 7 months and Doctors could not find out what was wrong with me. I lost my job and my husband and I were not able to get food stamps either $100 over, however in our state they can get food stamps and spend money on beer, cig and gambling. I even had one woman tell me at the office that my husband should just knock me up and let the state pay. That is really responsible, so someone who doesn't work and spreads there legs can get help, but us trying to be responsible can't. 2 months later we had a apartment fire. We finally said we can't take it any more we are in the process of filing bankruptcy due to medical, lack of a job and a fire all in one year. No wonder there is an increase in the state of Iowa of filing and food stamps! I have to believe it will get better for us if it doesn't we have no where to go.

I have a similar problem. I have a physical disability and I've always chosen to work despite my disability. I'm tired as hell, but the government won't give me any assistance, not even with housework. Which, ironically, I would qualify for if I was home all day not working and had plenty of time to chip away at my housework despite my back pain and my being in a wheelchair. Crazy. But I still think it's better to work.

it is possible to come back from bankruptcy but you have to be very careful. <br />
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I still have a ton of student debt to pay off too. <br />
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My credit rating was FAIR until I started my own business and now I"m slowly but surely crawling out and paying bills one by one and trying to do so on time!!<br />
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that's the most important thing and let them know you are not avoiding it!<br />
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good luck

I really need some advice. I am 28 and I have $25K debt and no way of paying it off. I haven't worked in a year and have to move out of my parents house by June so then I will have to be paying rent somewhere. What will happen if I file for bankruptcy? Will it ever be cleared from my record? What can I expect? Ahhh, Im freaking out.

Sounds like you're getting punished by this country for doing the right thing. Can you arrange a pay cut or work a few less hours so you would qualify for welfare? I know the whole situation seems backwards.

Quote "They recommended we have another child so that we would qualify." - Shocking, just shocking. <br />
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With advice like this being given to people, especially when they are vulnerable and going through a hard time, it's no surprise the economy is messed up more and more with every passing day. <br />
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Hope things are better for you now. :)

Sometimes it seems as though the harder you try, the more you get kicked in the teeth. I know this all too well. There are many ways that you can improve your situation. The first thing to do is take a long hard look at your expenses. This is a tough pill to swallow but I guaranty you there are places to tighten up. Pull the last six months statements (bank and/or credit card) and average what you spend on food, gas, home expenses, etc. These are your necessities. Then find ways to cut the cost. Cut coupons, only buy what you NEED and only when it's on sale. Can you carpool or take public transportation? Also, if you must drive to work, plan to run errands on the way home to save gas. Cut back on running A/C or heat around the house. Yes you may get cold but they make socks and blankets for that. And eliminate cable until you can afford to have it comfortably. Trust me, you get used to it. Next, ask your husband how long he needs to be in school while giving you the sole responsibility of supporting him and HIS CHILD. He needs to man up and help out by getting a part time job. I work full time and go to school. It can be done. He's being lazy and selfish and needs to be told. You may not qualify for government assistance but you can always contact your local food bank or local church. These places are always willing to help. Also, don't discount the generosity of friends. Mine have selflessly pulled me through my darkest days. Confide in those closest to you. If they love you they will do all they can to help. <br />
Lastly, hang in there. It will get better but it takes work. You'll be just fine just keep the faith.

Thank you to everyone who has commented. Things are looking better for us... and our financial woes are starting to level out a bit. Interesting that the rest of the economy is in the toilet, and it's given us the opportunity to become more stable. As long as my husband and I are both able to keep our jobs, we'll make it through this.

The American dream has turned into more like a nightmare. We can all thank George Bush for this economical catastrophy. The American Gov. stood by and watched it happen. I know this comment doesn't help you but a lot of us are in the same predicament. One answer may be to file for a non-payback Gov. Grant, there are many grants that apply to you as well as for many hard working American people. I have a diease that is fatule, leaving me disabled and only a few years left. I am very affraid of how this is going to leave my spouse. How will she live on her disabilaty, pay the mortgage and put food in the cubbard. No one will give me life ins. I have no children so she is going to be in financhal trouble. We are hoping with the politacal climate will change. She was in the hospital for hip surgery and the docs screwed it up, 5 surgeries total. They put the wrong hip replacement in, they drilled the hole for the hip apperatis crooked so it broke the bone, they put a new piece in but would not fit right and so on. She is now stuck in a wheel chair for life. We contacted lawers but they say she doesn't have case. We can thank Charlie Crist for that! I'm very glad the election turned out like it did and things might change. We will have you and the rest of America in our hearts and prayers, please don't give up, God is on our side and we will be delivered from the U.S. Gov.<br />
Thank you for sharing your story it will give hope to alot of people in our position.<br />

That sounds like us. I'm really not sure the bankrupcy helped us. We have two large school loans. In the bankrupcy we lost our cars and home. WE had to rent. In order to get cars again, we've had to pay for cars that have terrible interest. So now we pay over $800 a month for two cars. We also make too much for aid. Just my wife works and I get disability. Doing school has been our way to hold back the school loans too. If I work and make a penny too much I can lose all my disability.<br />
Well I hope you come up with some good ideas. We're still working on it.

We are in our final year (the 6th) of Chapter 13 consolidation. It's been a nightmare. My hubby became sick for a year before he had a massive heart attack so we had no medical insurance.<br />
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So I empathize.<br />
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The fact that you would have to take a paycut or have another child in order to qualify is terrible! Who is in charge of this mess, I would like to know? I see grown men hanging out on porches drinking out of paperbags, and they get government help! And I've worked in public health where we treated patients that had no social security cards and couldn't even speak English, and they were driving brand spanking new $30,000 vehicles paid for with cold hard cash!! Why can't promising, hard-working, tax-paying citizens of our country get some help when they need it?

The journey continues....<br />
I understand completely. You have mixed feelings about being in this condition. I was lucky in many ways because we stuck the bank with a huge debt, that was partially there fault for allowing the appraiser to give our home an unrealistic appraisal and fed into my husbands greed and laziness. <br />
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Finally I feel as though I am in an honest relationship. We are living within our means, and are budgeting every month to insure that we remain stable. What i don't like though is my kids feeling insecure about money. We lived a falsely affluent lifestyle. Going on expenses trips, lavish holiday spending, keeping up with the Jones's. Unfortunately they never knew how much debt we were in $780,000.00<br />
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Sometimes I thank God this happened but it burns me that no one cared until the big boys on Wall Street had to pay the piper. I think you should play it smart, ask for a deduction in wages or whatever you can do legally to get help. It sucks that Wall Street will receive a huge bail out and everyday people can't get food to eat! Also maybe your local food bank will help you? Non Profits don't have to answer to the Feds, from what i understand. Also you can barter for the things you need. Since the melt down there are a tons of books on how to make ends meet. I am reading them and trying to save money--Do It Now!<br />
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My biggest concern is my age at 53, I never thought I would have allowed my husband to behave so irresponsibly, its a long story, but I think you need to make your husband help out. Believe me, I feel for the same thing. Mine did not work for 10 years!! Always an excuse. Trust me he can do something! Even if a part time security guard job will help out. Also you may need to move home, living with your folks is tough but at least you can save money and get on your feet. Let him suffer a little.<br />
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I know I sound tough, but I feel your pain, and I don't you to go through what I went through. I was a fool, I should have jumped ship ages ago! Now he has a job and complains constantly, I don't care though, so what!! I know what your saying but he's this and that, No, his job is to support you, if he can't it maybe wise to get yourself in a comfortable situation. Stay married but don't stress yourself out.<br />
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If he really loves you he'll deal with it. What if he were in Iraq or something, you'd deal right. So look at it that way.<br />
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Please keep in touch, I understand.<br />
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A fine example of our Government at work.

My husband and I are also facing bankruptcy and we are very scared. Starting over in our 40's with 2 children still living at home...? I just can't fathom it. We too lost a house and a car. I keep telling myself it was a blessing in disguise since the house was over 100 years old and the utilities were killing us and the car was a Suburban and now we have a mini van and it doesn't cost us $100+ to fill up. But now all the other little bills are crowding in and we have a garnishment that is killing us! So bankruptcy seems to be the only answer. I'll keep you guys all in my thoughts and I hope you will keep us in yours! Blessings!

I know things vary from state to state regarding credit counseling services. For me, they were of no help and it would have taken longer to pay off less debt than I am under bankruptcy. I have 3 years of repayment. I just passed the second year anniversary. I can't wait to finish it off - but like you, I have a monster student loan that will be due as soon as the bankruptcy protection ends.<br />
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Sarakenny - have you met with a bankruptcy attorney yet? They can usually calculate how much repayment you will owe, if any, and whether one or both of you should file. Then they can estimate the length of time it would take to come out with your "clean slate".

While I can't see why someone would file bankruptcy I emphathize. quite a few years ago I got a divorce and subsequently incurred most of the credit card debt as a result. I almost declared bankruptcy but a consumer credit counseling service REALLY helped. In less than three months I'll be debt free except for my house.<br />
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I wouldn't suggest using credit cards to survive (not that you are) but if you do have debt try a CCS.

Thank you all for sharing your stories. My husband and I are facing bankruptcy and we are very scared. It is comforting to hear from those who have been through it. We are in our fifties and due to the economic slump we will lose our business and our only source of income. We have already lost our home and our savings trying to make the business successful. I have faith that we will pull through and be back on our feet in five years, because faith is all we have left. Please - to those of you who have filed bankruptcy - is five years a reasonable time? Or will it be more likely ten years. I guess it all depends on what kinds of jobs two folks in their fifties can get...

I know where you are coming from having just gone through bankrupcy myself, as well as lose my home and car. Had we had children we would have been offered a council house, tax allowances, child benefit etc. As my other half is blind but working, he is seen as not vulnerable even though I injured my back and lost my job, and brought no income in. Seems the harder you work the more you get penalised, and I can see why those on benefits have no incentive to get off housing for life, no council tax to pay, no prescriptions to pay, free healthcare. In the UK unfortunately, you don't get foodstamps, but a monthly (or weekly?) cash into your account to do with as you wish, and many spend it on booze, drugs, **** and subsist on baked beans, while their 5 kiddies run around in filthy nappies eating cheap junk food. You however, can hold your head up high as you work hard, even though it's a pittance, and this will boost your self esteem and give you self respect, something that you lose when you become reliant on hand outs. One day you'll have paid off those student loans and you won't owe anyone a bean, and that is a great feeling!

HI - I know that times are hard and it sometimes difficult to get a grip on everything, but hang in there. Things will get better. In terms of your student loans - you should be able to get a "General Forbearance" to put off payment for a while and stop those harassing phone calls. I to have student loans and have been able to get a "General Forbearance" even the my accounts are quite old and I make decent money. Go to the website of your student loan finance company and see if you can sign up.<br />
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Keep your head up and keep moving forward - there is a light at the end of the tunnel.<br />
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Me and my husband had a simmilar problem, where we were struggling to get by and it would have made more sense for me to have a baby, or him to make less money than to live where we were..<br />
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it made me angry.... <br />
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im just glad we're over the big mountain... now all i've got left is some little hills.