Category Archives: Medical Bankruptcy

Compulsive Buying Might Lead to Bankruptcy

Al Murray's Multiple Personality Disorder

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Definition of Compulsive Buying Disorder

Shopaholics is a slang term for Compulsive Buying Disorder (CBD). This addiction is characterized as an obsession with shopping and buying and is listed as a personality disorder under Axis II Disorders. This type of disorder can cause adverse consequences and becoming bankrupt is one of the primary results from the addiction.

CBD, a chronic addiction, is found in 5.8% of the United States population. Interestingly, approximately 80% of those affected by compulsive buying are female. The disease usually is accompanied by other disorders like mood shift, anxiety, substance abuse, and eating disorders. Compulsive buying is not limited to people who spend beyond their means, but it also includes people who spend an inordinate amount of time shopping or who chronically think about buying things but never purchase them. In the end, compulsive buying is a mood enhancing mechanism that ultimately can best be understood as a form of identity seeking.

Compulsive Buying Disorder and the Relationship with Bankruptcy

For the compulsive buyers who have a chronic addiction, the end result is often buying beyond their means and leading to bankruptcy. It is not uncommon for compulsive buyers to max out numerous credit card limits beyond their ability to pay. Job loss often accompanies such hardened buyers, and a cure from such addictions usually takes intervention and psychological counseling over a period of time. Some psychiatrists offer chemical relief from the symptoms with modest success.

Studies on Compulsive Buying and Bankruptcy

In the acclaimed book I Shop, Therefore I Am, Donald W. Black, M.D., writes in Chapter 9, entitled Assessment of Compulsive Buying, that there are wide disparities of compulsive buying which produce an abundance of opportunities for those afflicted with the disease to go bankrupt. The chapter highlights numerous real testimonies of patients who ultimately go broke because of this addiction.

In other studies, results ranged from “where compulsive buying addicts did not seek sales or use loans significantly more than others” to “compulsive buying in the U.S. has contributed to a record number of personal bankruptcy filings and credit card debt.” Overall, there have not been enough scientific studies made on the statistical subject to come up with any concrete conclusions about the relationship between bankruptcy and compulsive buying.

Where You Might Seek Help with Either

One thing is for certain, if you are bankrupt because you have a shopaholic addiction, you will eventually know it. If you have a compulsive buying disorder and you become bankrupt, you may not only need professional psychological counseling, you might need counseling from a bankruptcy attorney as well.

Bankruptcy laws are complicated, so are Axis II disorders. Most of you cannot overcome these deficiencies by yourself. Most of you will need professional help in order to determine what can be done for your particular situation.

English: Seal of the City of Dallas

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If you live in the metropolitan area of Dallas, Texas, and you have a compulsive buying disorder that has left you bankrupt, let us help you find a bankruptcy lawyer in your area.

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Can You Add Ongoing Medical Bills to Your Bankruptcy?

This personal bankruptcy question was posted on the internet in 2011 in a bankruptcy discussion: “What if I file bankruptcy and then have a bad accident or illness soon thereafter and accumulate a lot of bills again, can I add those bills to my bankruptcy?”

The answer to the debtors question depends on the type of bankruptcy you file.

There are basically two types of bankruptcies most individuals can file- a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy, commonly called liquidation of your assets, is normally the simplest and quickest form of bankruptcy. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy, commonly called a wage earner’s plan, enables individuals with regular income to develop a plan to repay all or part of their debts over three or five years.

When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, if the medical services were provided before you filed, then those unsecured debts are part of the bankruptcy. Under that situation, they will be discharged.

Unfortunately, if you file a Chapter 7 and a medical bill occurs after you file, then that debt is NOT a part of the bankruptcy. You, as the debtor, will have to pay the debt.

Although you do not know when medical bills will occur, unexpected bills are a good reason you want to be as careful as you can about filing a bankruptcy.

Once you file a Chapter 7, it will be another 8 years before you can file another Chapter 7, or four years to file a Chapter 13. That means you will be facing a minimum of four years to deal with your creditors apart from bankruptcy protection.

Therefore, if you select not to, or you cannot pay the creditors, they have the freedom to go after you through a lawsuit. A successful lawsuit by your creditors can result in a judgment that will allow them to possibly garnish wages, attach liens, seize assets, or foreclose on your property.

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a debtor’s disposable income is part of the bankruptcy estate and is used for paying monthly payments to accommodate the plan you devise for paying back your creditors.

Because a Chapter 13 is an ongoing plan, you can amend the schedules of the plan as you move along the three or five year span.

That means you can add ongoing medical bills to your payment plan. They will be prioritized and placed in the order of payments, and any unpaid unsecured debt may be discharged. However, there may be other consequences to a Chapter 13 if you do add post petition debt.

The added expenses may place an undue hardship on you so that you are not able to meet the reorganization payment schedule. If this occurs so that you begin to miss payments, your plan may be dismissed, and you would be back where you started.

On the other hand, adding medical bill expenses can possibly help you pass the Means Test. If that is the case, you may want to consider converting to a Chapter 7. Converting to a Chapter 7 can have the advantage of having the medical expenses discharged even though you added them post filing.

Let us contact a bankruptcy attorney to help you make an informed decision about bankruptcy and your ongoing medical bills.

Medical Bills Can be Overwhelming

If onion prices didn’t make you cry, your medical bills just might. Medical costs continue to rise and is scorching the middle class and the poor alike. The situation is probably not going to get better any time soon, and medical bills can sometimes be overwhelming.
This personal bankruptcy story was posted on the internet in March of 2011 as comments in a bankruptcy discussion: “My husband was laid off his full time position last Friday 3/11/11. We sold our single family home in 2007 in an effort to downsize or we would have been foreclosed on…it has left us with NO back up in case of emergencies like if our only car breaks down. Last year my husband was hit from behind at a stoplight and had a back injury that has required physical therapy, Neurologist visits and several non-surgical procedures just to get him out of pain. Even so, our health insurance through my husband’s job did not cover everything after the auto insurance maxed out, and we are once again finding ourselves in a lot of debt. We only have one car now…I have a part time job that hardly pays anything and they don’t give me enough hours. Still, after all this we basically live paycheck to paycheck, have no savings and nothing to show for our hard work over the yrs. I would be okay working a day job – but now I have no car and have not had any luck finding a job anyway. I have a B/A degree. I am at the end of my rope with all these financial issues. We were just making ends meet as it was. AND you still have to consider – your basic living expenses, supporting our children etc. The medical debtors are ringing the phone off the hook and even though I was going to try to make payment arrangements with all of them – I don’t see how this will work if my husband is out of work. We will be lucky if we can pay our rent, basic utilities and food/general expenses. So having told you all that – what should we do with these medical debts that will effect our credit if we can’t pay them? Even $10 per month is a lot of money when you are out of work.”

The debtor in this personal bankruptcy illustration has found their medical bills overwhelming at a time they have lost part of their income. Already in financial chaos, the family really needs to consider looking into the possibility of filing for bankruptcy protection. The moment you file a bankruptcy, a judge will order all collecting actions to cease, an important feature called the automatic stay. The automatic stay, applicable to all types of bankruptcy filings, means that the mere request for bankruptcy protection automatically stops and brings to a cessation certain lawsuits, foreclosures, utility shut-offs, evictions, repossessions, garnishments, attachments, and debt collection harassment. That means all creditors will have to go through a US Bankruptcy Court trustee in order to deal with their debtors.

There are two types of bankruptcies most individuals can file- a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy, commonly called liquidation of your assets, is normally the simplest and quickest form of bankruptcy. It is available to individuals, married couples, corporations, and partnerships. A chapter 13 bankruptcy is the second bankruptcy available to individuals and is called a wage earner’s plan. It enables individuals with regular income to develop a plan to repay all or part of their debts. If you have an income and qualify for a chapter 13, there are certain advantages for filing one. These advantages are: to save your home from foreclosure; to reschedule secured debts; to provide protection for co-debtors; to consolidate your loans under one plan; to keep non-exempt property; to extend certain tax obligations, student loans, or other such qualifying debts; and to qualify for bankruptcy relief. Filing a chapter 7 will not afford you these various opportunities listed.

Bankruptcy laws can be complicated, and common sense indicates you will probably need a bankruptcy lawyer in order to properly understand how these complex laws may apply in your situation. If you determine you are in need of relief from the stress associated with debt and you live in or around the metropolitan counties of Nassau or Suffolk, New York, contact us today at . We will help you find a bankruptcy attorney in your area that will help you with any questions you may have on bankruptcy law.

The Effects of Medical Bankruptcy

According to a news article posted in 2009, “illness and medical bills were linked to at least 62.1% of all personal bankruptcies in 2007. Based on the current bankruptcy filing rate, medical bankruptcies will total 866,000 and involve 2.346 million Americans in 2009 – about one person every 15 seconds. Most medically bankrupt families were middle class before they suffered financial setbacks. 60.3% of them had attended college and 66.4% had owned a home; 20% of families included a military veteran or active-duty soldier. 78% of the individuals whose illness led to bankruptcy had health insurance at the onset of the bankrupting illness; 60% had private insurance. 69% of debtor families had coverage at the time of their bankruptcy filing; 60% of families had continuous coverage.”

This argument was made by the Physicians for a National Healthcare Program (PNHP) when they were lobbying Congress to pass the current national healthcare plan. With statistics like these backing them, there is no wonder they won the day. What may be amazing to many of us is the fact the new “Tea Party” Republicans might reverse the healthcare plan. If that happens, the emergency rooms in hospitals will continue to swell to overload capacity, and the homeless will continue wondering the streets getting sicker and sicker. The effects of the wandering homeless does not strike home to many of us until we realize the overwhelming influence of their existence in our society. Most of us don’t see them except for the beggars on street corners, and some of those are panhandlers. The question is how healthy is it for our nation to have thousands wandering the streets who may not be healthy and cannot take care of themselves? Is it, like the doctors suggest, a public health issue?

Consider some of the statistics for the homeless the PNHP presented in their news article to understand some of the effects the homeless can have on our society:

1.                  Number of Homeless Persons in U.S. Annually: 3.5 million.

2.                  Number of Homeless Persons in U.S. Nightly: 842,000.

3.                  About 15 million of us experience homelessness at least once in our lifetime.

4.                  39% of the homeless are under the age 18: 1.35 million children per year and 200,000 on any given night.

5.                  23% of all homeless people were members of families with children

6.                  400,000 veterans are homeless per year, 200,000 on any given night.

7.                  The role of mental illness and substance use is less than you may assume: Approximately 16% of the single adult homeless population suffers from some form of severe and persistent mental illness; 30% currently addicted to alcohol or drugs. The cliché is that the closing of mental hospitals turned out many crazy people onto the streets. That is in fact a smaller and often over-emphasized part of the problem.

8.                  The bigger part of the problem is stagnant income and less affordable housing. The main cure for homelessness is affordable homes. 9 million low-income renter households nationwide pay more than half of their income for housing. In no community in the U.S. today can someone who gets a full time job at the minimum wage reasonably expect to find a modest rental unit he or she can afford.

Regardless of the reasons there are more homeless people today, they represent a growing segment of our population, and they are the ones we can visibly see who are bankrupt to the point of not being able to supply their basic needs. Medical bankruptcy, according to the statistics provided by the PNHP, might be considered the leading cause of the homeless in America. Contrary to what many might believe, bankruptcy is not always a choice we make. Circumstances like your health and unaffordable medical costs may cause you to go bankrupt.

Although filing for bankruptcy protection might not save everyone from becoming homeless, it is the last chance many have for starting their lives over. Bankruptcy laws can be complicated, and common sense indicates you will probably need a bankruptcy lawyer in order to properly understand how these complex laws may apply in your situation. If you determine you are in need of relief from the stress associated with debt and you live in or around the metropolitan area of Tulsa, Oklahoma, contact us today. We will help you find a bankruptcy attorney in your area that will help you with any questions you may have on bankruptcy law.