What are my options before going to court if I owe a past due bill, only have social security and pension to live on? 2 Answers as of April 28, 2016

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Law Offices of Henry Repay
Law Offices of Henry Repay | Henry Repay
The creditor cannot collect from your social security benefits and if all goes right then your bank should be able to monitor whether the funds you have on deposit are social security funds (to prevent their being tied up in collection). The pension payments may be subject to satisfying the judgment as they are received, but if the amount is minimal you may have exemptions to apply. Other assets you have may be subject to being taken, except as you may be able to declare them exempt from attachment under Illinois law. If your asset situation is minimal (little or no equity in home or other real estate, low-value vehicle(s), older household goods and furnishings, no savings, ...), then you might try speaking with the creditor's counsel to show that your primary source of income is social security and see if they might determine that collection is more hassle than it is worth. Otherwise, perhaps they will work out something that you can manage. If you have other debt that could lead to more of these headaches, you might also consider whether bankruptcy would make matters easier for you even if there is little that creditors could take. If you call around, you can probably find someone to provide an initial consultation to help you evaluate the bankruptcy options. The scope of this space does not afford an opportunity to assess the situation and advise you. I recommend you assemble for legal consultation: (1) household income information for November 2015 through the present, including wages and unemployment during that period; (2) all your bills and collection notices (copies neatly assembled, back pages included); (3) last two years? tax returns; (4) a credit report (use www.annualcreditreport.com to obtain free report if not requested in last year); and (5) other information that may apply, such as copies of lawsuits. Call at your earliest convenience to afford the most opportunity in which to be advised about your best course. I do not recommend filing bankruptcy on your own. There are too many complex issues. I have seen several posts on this site for debtors who filed on their own and are seeking counsel concerning complications. Most of them will have a hard time finding an attorney to get involved to unwind the mess without the attorney charging several times what would originally have been paid.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 4/28/2016
Edelman, Combs, Latturner & Goodwin, LLC | Daniel A. Edelman
You should try to avoid having a judgment entered, as you can be dragged in to answer questions about your assets, etc., for 20 years. If it is a debt buyer, they may not be able to prove anything. So you should definitely show up and demand a trial, and if the debt is large, hire an attorney If the plaintiff's lawyer knows you have nothing that can be attached, they may just give up, so you might point that out. You are not required to make payments from exempt assets, which Social Security and pension benefits are.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 4/28/2016
Click to View More Answers: