They say that nothing in life is free and when we open our mailbox each day to find yet another bill, it can often feel that way. However, there is help available.
Bill Withers sang a song in the 60s entitled “Lean on Me” in which the lyrics offer up great insight:
Sometimes in our lives
We all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow
If you are currently in a situation where you are struggling to pay bills, it may be time to find out what resources are available to help. As the song goes on to say “lean on me.” The professionals at Bankruptcy Advocates are here to help and we invite you to give us a call or email us. However, in the meantime, there are other governmental and non-profit organizations that offer help.
Need Help? – Start Here
Start by checking out the USA.gov website for their “help with bills” page. Here you will find information for those struggling to pay their utilities and phone bills, need food assistance, housing help, and student aid. It is a great place to start when researching what is available and seeing what is required in order to qualify. Many churches welcome opportunities to help those in financial straits, especially if the person in need is only temporarily in difficulty and has a plan in place to become self-supporting.
When we examine our bills, the largest amounts tend to fall into three categories: housing, medical and education. Let’s look at these three expenses and a few of the resources that are available to help.
Help with Housing Costs
If you have determined that you need to find a more affordable housing situation, the “Illinois Department of Commerce” administers programs that offer housing support including housing rehabilitation, rental assistance, and accessibility assistance for occupancy by persons with disabilities.” Check out their website. Each state offers housing assistance. Simply conduct an Internet search for programs that are available in your area.
Need help paying your rent this month? Check out the rent assistance programs that are available. Rent Assistance.US offers a guide to programs available by state. Check out your state programs.
Help with Medical Bills
Medical bills are often the cause of financial struggles. Most often the bills for treating a health issue are unexpected and can rapidly grow beyond the normal savings account balance. In fact, medical bills are one of the most common reasons people file for bankruptcy.
“Every year, 1.5 million people in the United States declare bankruptcy and many people think overspending or lavish lifestyles are to blame. However, a new study suggests that in fact, more than 60% of people who go bankrupt are actually capsized by medical bills.”(Health.com)
Health.com has compiled a listing of programs available to help with medical bills.
If you don’t have any health insurance you can still find ways to save money when it comes to receiving medical assistance. Balance.com offers several tips including shopping around for doctor offices that provide services for those that aren’t covered by insurance and even cash discounts.
QLink has put together a list of 35 resources that are available for those needing help with medical bills, who don’t have insurance or who are underinsured. Check out their list: 35 Resources to Help with Medical Bills.
Help with Student Loans
The third area of expense that can overwhelm a family budget is the cost of education. Paying for school is a double-edged sword; you need the education to make a decent living and yet the cost of an education can bury you deep in debt. Luckily, there are resources available to help.
First, be aware of the options that are available. There are loan forgiveness programs, deferral programs and even options for reduced debt depending on the field of study you were in. CBS did an in-depth study not long ago that offers 6 things you should be aware of if you are struggling with student debt: CBS Student Debt.
Student loan debt isn’t just a challenge for Millennials but also for their parents as many co-signed loans for their children to go to college. In fact, a recent study shows that Baby Boomers are delaying their retirement because they are still burdened with loan payments for their children’s education. According to Consumer Reports, the numbers are staggering:
“During the last 10 years, the number of older education loan borrowers has quadrupled to 2.8 million people, and the amount of debt they’ve taken on has nearly doubled, from $12,000 to $23,500, according to a new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which examined student loan complaints by Americans age 60 and older.”
Student Loan Hero has compiled a listing of those organizations that offer grants, financial assistance and even forgiveness programs for those struggling to pay for student loans.
The bottom line is that there are resources available for people struggling with debt. You are not alone. Don’t know where to start? Give us a call.
Southern Illinois Bankruptcy Attorney law firm Bankruptcy Advocates is located in Carbondale and serves a wide geographic community. We are a debt relief agency. Our southern Illinois bankruptcy attorneys help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code. The first consultation is always free. Give us a call at 618-549-9800 or email us at [email protected] to speak about your case or legal matter. Convenient appointment times are available.