What will happen if I am being sued for old credit card debt? 23 Answers as of August 24, 2011

I am being sued for a old credit card debt bought by another company. I am now 60 and live off ssi I own nothing after having a stroke. what will happen? Can they take my ssi can they take the few things in my room?

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Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
Your SSI will be exempt for garnishment.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/24/2011
Dan Wilson Bankruptcy
Dan Wilson Bankruptcy | Dan Wilson
Your SSI is likely exempt from garnishment. Unless you have personal property of unusual value your possessions are also likely exempt. (Exemption statutes vary from state to stateI practice in Colorado.) That said a creditor can be an incredible pain. You should check out legal aid. They may be able to find an attorney who will represent you no-fee or low-fee.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 8/15/2011
Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
If you are not concerned with obtaing a fresh start then it does not appear that you have any attachable assets or attachable income. SS income is not attachable.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/15/2011
Ross Smith, Attorney at Law
Ross Smith, Attorney at Law | Charles Ross Smith III
I always hope that creditors will avoid wasting time and money suing people like you. You are "judgment proof. A sensible creditor should not waste $90.00 suing you. There is no way to they can take your SSI. So stop worrying about that. You may try writing them a note and explaining your situation. They may listen. Keep your eyes open for any "Notice of Debtors' Examination." This is the only document the you really have to respond to. It is an order for you to show up at the court and meet the creditors' attorney. The attorney will ask you several questions to see if you are really judgment proof. You are. So he will send you home and that will be the end it. You must be sure to always show up for a Debtors' Exam. You can be arrested if you fail toi show. Other than that, you may safely ignore all civil lawsuits, if you are judgment proof. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 8/13/2011
Law Office of John C. Farrell, Jr.
Law Office of John C. Farrell, Jr. | John C. Farrell, Jr.
The debt buyers are always purchasing junk accounts. I would be interested to see if the statue of limitations has passed. Additionally, you have rights under MA and Federal law to protect you against harassment. They cannot take your SSI because it is exempt. They will not likely take anything from your home unless you have an expensive antique collection, for example. You may be what I call "uncollectable" but most people call judgment proof.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 8/13/2011
    The Law Office of Marvin Wolf
    The Law Office of Marvin Wolf | Marvin Wolf
    The answer would depend on how old the debt goes back. If the last payment was more than 6 years ago, the creditor really should not be suing because the debt is past the statute of limitations (the deadline to sue). However, if a debtor is sued, the debtor MUST file an answer within 35 days listing the statute of limitations as an "affirmative defense" or he will lose. Creditors know that people often are afraid to answer or don't know how to do so, so they file anyway and often win on default, where if the debtor fought back they would lose. Sometimes creditors sell a debt and change the date of the debt (re-aging it) which violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act and gives a counterclaim for damages. ANY payment to a creditor would start the statute of limitations clock all over again, so it's usually better not to make a "good faith" payment - that's just a trick to give them a clean case where before they wouldn't have had one. Even for a more recent debt, social security payments are generally immune from garnishment or seizure from regular creditors. Personal property worth under $1,000 is also immune from seizure. Sometimes, a call to the creditor informing them you are on SS is enough to stop them from going further, but in any event once you are sued you must answer the complaint in writing with the court and serve the company suing you. The court clerk can give you a package with instructions to follow. There is a fee for filing the answer which depends on which part of the court the complaint was brought in. Disclaimer: Not legal advice, just general legal information. I am not your lawyer. Federal debt relief agent and attorney at law.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/13/2011
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    There is NOTHING they can do to you. How old is old? If it has been more than 4 years since you made a payment or a charge.... they can not sue you, and if they do see a lawyer ASAP so you can sue them. If they are calling you all the time, send a letter via certified mail telling them to stop calling. Keep a copy of the letter and the certified mail receipt. Log all calls after that and then sue them for bugging you in violation of federal and state laws.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/13/2011
    bk covers it and if over 5 yrs, law prevents it too
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/13/2011
    Law Office of Michael Johnson
    Law Office of Michael Johnson | Michael Johnson
    A bankruptcy will eliminate all debt so no one can attempt to take anything from you
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/13/2011
    Engberg Law Office
    Engberg Law Office | Harry A. Engberg
    SSI is protected from collections. If the debt is over 8 years old the statute of limitations has run. This means they are not suppose to try to collect. Some collection companies over look that. You can defend yourself in Court based on the debt being past the Statute of limitations.
    Answer Applies to: South Dakota
    Replied: 8/13/2011
    Guardian Law Group PLLC
    Guardian Law Group PLLC | C. David Hester
    No SSI is exempt. THey can sure and if you don't answer they can get a default judgment, but it sounds like you are judgment proof. You can let them know this yourself or contact your local Pro Bono legal aid clinic or even some law schools run a pro bono clinic to help you with them.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/13/2011
    Theodore N. Stapleton, PC
    Theodore N. Stapleton, PC | Theodore N. Stapleton
    You could file a chapter 7 bankruptcy and discharge the debt or you could let them get a judgment. If they get a judgment they can't garnishment your SSI until it is deposited into your account. I am happy to discuss these issues with you. Please call to schedule a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson | Lynnmarie Johnson
    Generally SSI is not garnishable and they would not take a few things you have in your room (assuming the few things aren't gold bricks). However, they can be annoying and call you a lot and even may go so far as to get a judgment against you. If they start to harass you and sue you. Try calling Legal Services and see if it is a case they will handle for you free of charge. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Grasso Law Group
    Grasso Law Group | Charles Grasso, Esq.
    You can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and have the suit stopped and the debt discharged.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Lehn Law, PA
    Lehn Law, PA | Joseph W. Lehn
    You can be sued for credit card debt. Social security income is protected from creditors. I advise that you seek advice from a bankruptcy attorney to be fully informed of your rights and options.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    If you are receiving SSI disability that is not available for judgment creditors to collect. It is fully protected, just like your personal property and furnishings.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    There is nothing they can take from you but if you stopped paying the credit card over 4 years ago you might win the lawsuit by answering the complaint and putting in the answer that the debt is no longer valid because of the statute of limitations. You are eligible to have the court waive the filing fee for the answer because you are on SSI. However, you need to find someone to help you prepare the answer and it must be filed within 30 days of the date you were served with the summons and complaint. Bankruptcy is also an option you might want to explore with a bankruptcy attorney, particularly if you want to wipe out all your debts and don't want any more phone calls, letters and lawsuits.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Burnham & Associates
    Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
    It is highly unlikely they will be able to take your SSI or the personal items in your apartment.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    They can't take your SSI or your things but they can harass you till the end. I'd file bankruptcy and get rid of it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
    They can't touch SSI. Just be sure it's in an account that has no other source if funds. Your personal property is probably all exempt. If they win they can record a judgment which will continue to earn interest. How old is the debt, from the original creditor? If outside the statute of limitations, they can't get a judgment, though you'll have to go to court. And the creditor can't count from the time they bought the debt, so ask the judge to make them prove it.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Sit down with a lawyer. You may have defenses, or may be able to bankrupt. And the SSI should be safe (but take care as to where it is put).
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/12/2011
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