Dealing with debt is in itself already a stressful experience. The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has made it become a more troubling ordeal. For weeks now, community quarantines have kept many people from working. While it is for everyone’s safety, there’s no denying that it means many people could face extra challenging financial situations. Because unfortunately for many, work stopped but the bills didn’t.
There are several steps to take to manage debt as you plan your next steps for coping with the economic and financial impact of the pandemic. These include consulting a Salt Lake City collections attorney and talking to your creditors. Read on to get an idea of the things you can do to help ensure that you don’t fall deeper into the debt trap.
Look at Your Options
True enough, many people live from paycheck to paycheck. Not being able to work for a few days or weeks can already have a great impact. This is why people who have outstanding debt need to act fast before they get buried more deeply in debt due to late payments. It’s necessary to determine where you will get financial sustenance from if you cannot go out to work while community quarantines are being enforced.
The first thing you can do is check your state’s unemployment COVID-19 policies. This will help you get started in identifying your government-supported benefit options. In Utah, for instance, qualified individuals can get additional unemployment benefits. You may also check with your local public health office for information.
It will also help to check with your employer. Are there paid leaves you can use? Are they willing to provide financial assistance? Maybe you can have a work from home arrangement for the meantime?
Some employers already have policies related to emergencies such as today’s health crisis. This is common among companies in areas where natural disasters are known to cause work disruptions. Utah has had its share of destructive natural calamities, from flash floods to snowstorms. If you’re lucky, you can take advantage of emergency leave benefits and still get paid for days you’re unable to work.
You should also check with your creditors. See if they can help ease the burden by giving special considerations and adjustments.
What to Do When a Debt Collector Contacts You
If you have debt that is currently in collections and you get a call from a debt collector, do not ignore or avoid them. Talk to them and explain your situation. If possible, work out with them a realistic repayment plan.
It’s crucial that you know your rights. Read up on Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This protects debtors from harassment and unfair collection practices.
If you believe you are being treated unfairly, you can write a written request to the debt collections company and request for them to tone down their collection efforts. Mention in your letter that you are willing to cooperate as long as you are treated fairly and properly. For best results, you can consult a collections attorney to know how to best deal with creditors and collection agencies.
Collection attorneys can help you understand your rights as a consumer better. They can also assist you in dealing with your creditors and potentially consolidating your debt. Collection lawyers can also help determine whether filing for bankruptcy will be a better option.