Posts Tagged: ‘Chapter 7 bankruptcy Miami’

Disabled no longer face big tax hit when student loans are forgiven

May 1, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Borrowers who have had their federal student loans forgiven due to “total and permanent” disability determinations will no longer have to pay federal income taxes on the amount forgiven. This change is great news for borrowers who anticipate having loans forgiven in the future. However, if the disabled borrowers were granted loan forgiveness prior to the rule change in December, the benefit does not extend to them as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is not retroactive.

According to a report issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in December 2016, the United States Department of Education forgives an estimated $2 billion in loans owed by disabled borrowers annually.

Disabled borrowers include veterans who are no longer able to work due to service-related injuries but also anyone who is determined to be “totally and permanently disabled” by a physician and is now receiving disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. According to the GAO, over 213,000 people were approved for discharges due to total and permanent disability (TPD) in 2014 and 2015. The typical amount forgiven in 2015 was around $17,500, an amount which would be then considered taxable income by the IRS.

In 2016, the Department of Education, utilizing a computer matching software, identified an additional 387,000 borrowers who appeared to be eligible for loan forgiveness. Notifications were then sent to these individuals regarding their eligibility, also warning them of the tax consequences. An additional 19,000 in new approvals for loan forgiveness were then made.

However, the fact that only 19,000 followed through showed that borrowers may have been either intimidated by the paperwork or scared of the tax consequences of the student loan forgiveness.

Now that no federal tax implications are tied to loan forgiveness for disabled borrowers, lawmakers want to see the Department automatically clear out the debt of those who do meet the eligibility requirements by using the same or similar computer matching program that was previously used. In fact, on Feb. 15, eight lawmakers sent a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and VA Secretary David Shulkin, asking that the process begin in discharging these debts.

“Veterans who have served our country with honor and sustained a debilitating service-connected disability are still facing the burden of payments on debt that is eligible to be forgiven,” the letter said. “Delaying benefits owed to our veterans due to a lack of coordination among federal agencies is unacceptable.”

Certain issues may delay borrowers from filing for a TPD discharge, especially if the filer is not a veteran. Delays have been known to happen at the Social Security Administration level.

“Borrowers with disabilities who are eligible for loan discharge may still struggle to get relief from the burden of their student loans,” the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s student loan ombudsman, Seth Frotman, reports. “Borrowers complain to the Bureau about problems related to every stage of the TPD discharge process.”

Once approval has been given for the disability and the borrower has been approved for loan forgiveness, it is also still possible that the approval can be taken away if the borrower fails to submit to annual income verification that is required for the three years following the approval, also known as the three-year monitoring period. The IRS is not notified that the loan has been forgiven until after the three-year period has been completed.

However, if the borrower was given TPD discharge through a VA application, he or she will not need to do the three-year monitoring period.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) suggests borrowers do the following when seeking TPD loan discharges:

  • Provide proof of disability from a physician, the Social Security Administration or Veterans Administration;
  • If the borrower’s loans are in default, it is recommended that he or she apply for discharge as soon as possible. Any payments being taken out of social security benefits will then stop while the application is being reviewed;
  • Remain in touch with the loan servicer during the three-year review period;
  • Discuss other options if the borrower has been turned down for a TPD discharge. Other income-based repayment plans do exist to help ease the burden if the borrower cannot get a total discharge.

There are ways to file for bankruptcy with student loan debt.  For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources: https://www.credible.com/news/student-loans/disabled-no-longer-face-big-tax-hit-student-loans-forgiven/

The Key Differences between Secured Debt and Unsecured Debt

March 1, 2018 Posted by kingcade

There are two main types of debt, these include: Secured debt and unsecured debt.  Knowing the difference between the two can help you prioritize paying off your debts and keep your assets.  Secured debts are tied to an asset that is considered collateral for that debt.  Lenders place a lien on the asset, giving them the right to repossess it if you stop making payments on the loan.  Examples of secured debt include a car loan and a home mortgage.  A title loan is also a type of secured debt.

When it comes to unsecured debts, lenders do not have rights to any collateral for the debt.  If you fall behind on payments or stop paying all together, the lender can generally not take any of your assets for the debt.  The lender can take other actions against you to collect on the debt.  For example, file a lawsuit against you and ask the court to garnish your wages.  Unsecured debt can include credit card debt, student loans and medical bills.

So how do you know which debts to prioritize? Secured debts, those tied to a specific piece of property, are typically the best choice to pay first.  These payments are often harder to catch up on if you fall behind and you risk losing essential assets, like your home or vehicle.  Here are some ways bankruptcy can affect your debts– both secured and unsecured.

If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

https://www.thebalance.com/the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts-960181

Top 10 Reasons People File for Bankruptcy

February 17, 2018 Posted by kingcade

While it is commonly assumed that people who file for bankruptcy cannot resist the temptation of using credit cards or are self-proclaimed shopaholics, most people go bankrupt for other reasons.  Here are the most common reasons people file for bankruptcy.

  1. Medical debt. Medical expenses account for approximately 62 percent of personal bankruptcy filings in the U.S., according to a recent Harvard University study.  And interestingly enough, the study revealed that 72 percent of those who filed for bankruptcy due to their medical bills had some form of health insurance.
  2. Reduced income. Companies are cutting back on expenses and for many employees that means pay cuts. Less income, combined with an unexpected expense can end in bankruptcy.
  3. Job loss. The sudden loss of a job can quickly deplete ones savings.  Approximately 62% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings and 21% live month-to-month.
  4. Credit card debt. This is not always the result of irresponsible spending, but can accumulate due to an unexpected medical expense, illness or job loss.
  5. Divorce. This can mean a significant loss of income and assets for both partners. It can also mean taking on a portion of your partner’s debt if you co-signed on a loan during the marriage.
  6. Unexpected expenses. Emergencies can happen to any one of us, whether your vehicle breaks down, you suffer a debilitating illness or a catastrophic storm damages your home—these events can deplete savings quickly.
  7. Student loans. Even though these are difficult to discharge in bankruptcy, statistics show that student loans account for at least one percent of all U.S. bankruptcy filings, which translates to approximately 15,000 bankruptcies a year.
  8. Utility payments. For many homeowners, the rising costs of utilities- such as heating, air conditioning and electricity- can quickly add up and pave the way to bankruptcy.
  9. Foreclosure. A number of people file for bankruptcy in an effort to save their homes from foreclosure.
  10. Money mismanagement. Money management has become more difficult, thanks in part to inflation.  A combination of poor spending habits and incorrect budgeting can quickly spiral into debt.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

How to Know If You Qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

February 11, 2018 Posted by kingcade

The bankruptcy Means Test determines whether your income is low enough to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The test is designed to keep high-income earners from filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy and limited to consumers who truly need it and cannot afford to repay their debts.

If the Means Test proves your income is too high to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can file Chapter 13 bankruptcy and repay a portion of your debts (typically over a three-to five-year period).  Even with the requirements to pass the Means Test, it does not mean you have to be penniless to file Chapter 7.  In fact, you can earn significant monthly income and still qualify for Chapter 7- depending on the expenses you have.

The Means Test determines if you qualify for Chapter 7 by deducting specific monthly expenses from your “current monthly income” (i.e. – your average income over the six calendar months before you file for bankruptcy) to arrive at your monthly “disposable income.” The more disposable income you have, the more likely you will be required to repay your creditors.

The first step of the Means Test is to determine whether your income is more or less than the median income in your state.  Median income levels vary by state and household size.  Also, each county and metropolitan region has different allowed amounts for categories of expenses, such as necessities, housing, and transportation.  You can enter your zip code into the Means Test Calculator to determine the income requirements for your specific location.

If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/chapter-7-bankruptcy-means-test-eligibility-29907.html

New Study Reveals- 24 Percent of Americans have more Credit Card Debt than Savings

February 8, 2018 Posted by kingcade

The new statistic comes from a 2017 Bankrate study, which also revealed only 52% of Americans have emergency savings that exceed their outstanding credit card balances.  Meanwhile, the average U.S. household owes $7,136 in credit card debt and an estimated 57% have less than $1,000 in the bank.

There are ways to break the cycle of debt and boost savings simultaneously.  It starts by creating a budget. Without a budget, you will have no idea where your money is going each month and where you can cut corners.  Downsizing your living space can free up several hundred dollars a month.  But keep in mind, cutting back on leisure purchases, eating out and clothing can do the same.

Taking on a side-job to earn extra income is another way to pay down debt and boost savings.  Of the 44 million Americans who currently have a second job for supplemental income, more than one-third bring home upwards of $500 a month as a result.

Getting out of the debt cycle begins with creating a realistic budget and getting a grasp on your current financial situation.  There are specific ways you can deal with high interest credit card debt.   If you are struggling with insurmountable debt, whether it is credit card debt, medical debt or student loan debt, consider sitting down with an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney for a free consultation who can assess your financial situation in more detail and let you know if bankruptcy is right for you.

Click here to read more on this story.

As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.