I just received a chapter 7 discharge for my debt, and now have more debt. I was unemployed and had a traumatic head injury right after my discharge, I have no income, no job and no insurance, I have accumulated tax debt and emergency hospital bills debt which I have no way to pay, what are my options? I have been denied Social Security disability, etc... Thank you
I am very sorry to hear about the challenges you are facing, both with your health and with your finances.
Thankfully, I can tell you that there are options to assist you in resolving your financial difficulties. The first thing that I would recommend you do is contact your bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible to explain the problems you are facing so he can tell you what assistance he can provide you. It may be possible for your attorney to request that the court re-open your bankruptcy case in order to extend the discharge to the medical debts incurred as a result of your accident. In order to re-open a discharged Chapter 7 case, the court will likely require you to provide a clear and convincing reason as to why it should extend the discharge to your newer creditors. While it is fairly unusual for the bankruptcy court to grant such a motion, given the fact that these debts resulted from a traumatic injury which was outside your control, it is very possible that the court will grant an exception in your case. If the court allows you to re-open your case, you will likely be required to follow a process similar to what you experienced when you initially filed; the discharge of the debts will not be automatic, but it should be somewhat less difficult considering the court previously granted you a discharge of your other debts. Again, I strongly encourage you to consult with your attorney as soon as possible to discuss this option. Your attorney should be able to give you an opinion of the likelihood of your motionÂ’s success, and what alternatives are available if your request is not granted by the court. To read more about bankruptcy, I encourage you to visit the Bills.com bankruptcy resources page at http://www.bills.com/bankruptcy
Unfortunately, tax liabilities are generally not dischargeable in bankruptcy, which means that you may be forced to pay the tax debts you have incurred since your accident even if you can move the court to reopen your bankruptcy case. However, in extreme cases, in which the payment of the tax obligation would cause an undue hardship on the petitioner, the bankruptcy courts do have the power to discharge tax obligations. You should know that the courts rarely use this power, so you should probably not expect your tax debts to be discharged. You should discuss this possibility with your attorney to find out his opinion and to learn what steps you would need to take to petition the bankruptcy court to discharge your tax debt. Assuming the court will not discharge your tax liability, you will probably want to seek the advice of a tax professional to find out what options are available to you to resolve your back taxes. For example, since you are not able to work and have no other source of income, the IRS (or your state or local tax authority, depending on the type of taxes owed) may be willing to put your account in Â“uncollectibleÂ” status, meaning that the tax agency will not pursue collection because it knows that you do not have income or assets sufficient to satisfy the debt. However, if you have assets which can be liquidated to pay the taxes, the IRS may be willing to accept the value of your non-exempt assets as partial payment of your obligation, a program called an Â“offer in compromise.Â” The options available to you to resolve your delinquent taxes will depend largely on the type of taxes you owe (federal, state, local) and your personal and household financial circumstances. The IRS and other tax agencies are generally willing to work with delinquent taxpayers to help them figure out a way to pay their taxes without the necessity for unpleasant collection efforts. I encourage you to consult with a tax attorney or other tax professional to discuss your finances and what options may be available to help your resolve your outstanding tax debt. To read more about the various types of assistance available to taxpayers struggling with back taxes, I invite you to visit the Bills.com IRS Debt Help page at http://www.bills.com/irs-tax-debt-article/
You could also seek out the counsel of a leading tax resolution firm, like Bills friends at Freedom Tax Relief (www.freedomtaxrelief.com )
I understand your frustration with the fact that your claim for disability was denied by the Social Security Administration. Unfortunately, many people apply for disability benefits who do not really qualify, which causes delays and problems for all applicants. These improper applications lead to an abundance of caution on the part of the SSA, and the agencyÂ’s efforts to prevent unqualified claims from being approved often results in valid claims being denied. If your injury has left you unable to work, you may want to dispute the denial of your previous claim. I would encourage you to consult with an attorney who specializes in Social Security appeals to discuss your case; having an experienced attorney assisting with your case could greatly increase your chances of having your disability claim approved on appeal. The Social Security Administration has a website which explains the appeals process in detail, available at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps6z/iAppeals/ap001.jsp
I know that, given your financial situation, it may be difficult to hire attorneys or other professionals to represent you in these various matters; however, the potential benefits of successfully resolving your debts and having your SSD claim approved certainly justify the expense. I would encourage you to take whatever steps necessary to raise the funds needed to enlist qualified professional assistance. Many attorneys and tax professionals will accept their fees in installments, accept reduced fees, and offer other assistance to you given the medical and financial problem you are facing; most will also provide you with a free initial consultation. I wish you the best of luck in resolving your financial struggles, and hope that the information I have provided helps you Find. Learn. Save.