At one point, we’ve all been there: encountering financial difficulty because of illness or injury. Being sick or getting injured forces an individual to take time off from work. For people who get paid by the hour, this is bad news because it undercuts their paycheck at the end of each month. Even for people who have medical insurance and company perks to go on paid medical leaves, the lost productivity can still affect their professional standings.
Those of us who don’t have health care or disability insurance are forced to become more resourceful in settling our medical bills while making ends meet. One of the first options you should look at is the US Social Security Administration (SSA). Social security provides some quick relief for cases like this and the amount you’ll receive will depend on how much you earn, number of years of contribution you’ve paid to the the SSA, and your benefits as an employee. The downside to this, however, is that the claim usually takes a while to be processed.
Another way to get financial assistance is workers’ compensation. This may be available to you if your illness is caused by your work or if you got injured in the workplace. The program is administered by state and is determined by the laws of the state that governs it.
Other resources for income while ill or injured are as follows:
- Civil service disability –if you work for the government
- Veterans Administration pension disability – for eligible military or police veterans
- Black lung programs– for people who work in the mining industry
- Group union disability coverage– if you are part of a workers’ union
- Automobile insurance– for injuries that come as a result of an automobile accident
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)– if you have low income and limited assets
- MedicaidAssistance – if you’re making minimum wage rates or are being paid slightly above it
If you’ve already exhausted these options and you’re still paying for medical expenses, then there’s a good chance that you’ve started to take on loans or cash advances from credit cards to keep yourself afloat. Borrowed resources from these channels might provide temporary financial relief, but this is where things get really tricky because you’re basically paying debt with more debt. Without a concrete plan to put a stop to your financial slide, things can get out of hand fast and you could find yourself in a lot of trouble.
Fortunately, all is not lost even when you find yourself in this situation. Before you give up and consider declaring bankruptcy, consider approaching a third-party agency that offers debt relief programs.
Sizeable debt can be overcome through a specific program: debt settlement. Let’s take a look:
- Debt settlement: If collection agencies have come knocking on your door, then that means your debts are overdue by at least six months. The longer you are unable to meet payment, the less likely it is for you to pay them back, especially when the amount has ballooned due to compounded interest fees and late charges. Creditors have been known to opt for the best possible scenario. If you declare bankruptcy, for example, then there is hardly a way for them to get their money back. Enter debt settlement arrangements.
The way this works is that you work with a debt relief expert who will negotiate on your behalf with creditors. They will offer your creditor payment but only a fraction of what is actually owed in one lump sum. They may explain your situation to your creditor and prove that you’ve fallen into debt due to sickness and now you’re out of work or other significant reasons. You will get help making a payment plan and settle on how you will pay it. These debt relief experts will probably make a counter-offer, and you may only have to pay a fraction of the original debt.
If you’re still sick or injured, you have no time or energy to deal with your creditors. A debt relief service takes the stress of dealing with creditors out of the equation. Fortunately, you’ll only have to pay them once they successfully negotiate the debt to a manageable amount.
The agency will usually propose a new payment plan that will allow you to make minimum monthly payments. They can also ask to enter you into a hardship program that explains and proves your medical situation. A hardship program reduces the debt owed by removing the interest accumulated, and sometimes even some of the principal amount.
Having financial difficulty due to a major illness or injury may feel like a nightmare that never ends. It’s easy to lose hope and fall into depression but keep in mind that succumbing to life’s challenges will only make matters worse. Your situation is far from hopeless and all your options were just outlined above. With enough resolve, discipline and will, it’s possible to recover from your medical and financial troubles en route to flourishing again. You just have to know where to find help and secure new arrangements where you can realistically fulfill your obligations.
To learn more about debt relief solutions and how to start living with financial freedom, contact CreditAssociates for a free consultation or use our Savings Estimator to see how much you could save.