Covid-19 is impacting everything. It’s putting many people out of work. Some Americans will walk away from this crisis with jaw-dropping medical bills and a slew of additional financial problems.
As the situation continues to unfold it’s important to stay on top of certain financial issues. The biggest ones right now are the CARES Act…and what you will do to secure both your short-term and long-term financial wellbeing.
Can anyone take my stimulus check?
The stimulus checks are starting to come in, and with them come questions. After all, if you’re in dire financial straits you may have good cause to worry that other parties may try to swoop in and claim the money that’s due.
Fortunately, in most cases you have little reason to worry unless you:
- Owe back child support.
- Owe money to the bank where the money is being deposited.
- Have an outstanding judgement allowing a private debt collector to garnish your wages.
It can’t be seized for back taxes, or even for defaulted student loans.
If you’re facing a creditor lawsuit filing bankruptcy is the best way to protect your stimulus check. The bankruptcy process is slowed but it hasn’t stopped, and the automatic stay will remain in effect even though your discharge could be delayed.
Now might be the right time to file.
Experts predict a slew of bankruptcies in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. There’s a possibility both courts and lawyers will be overwhelmed.
Most people wait too long to file. If you’re overextended, it’s not likely to get better in the short term. In the meantime you may be paying money to creditors when doing so won’t ultimately help you or save you from bankruptcy. You might consider this even if you are currently drawing unemployment or taking advantage of other programs to stay afloat.
Relief measures like halting utility shut-offs and evictions will only take you so far. Bankruptcy can halt your eviction if you owe back rent when the protection expires.
The sooner you file the sooner you get the automatic stay protection. If you wait until attorneys are in short supply and courts are backed up you may create vulnerabilities for yourself that can make life harder later.
Remember it can take some time to get ready as well, since you may need to suspend certain activities you’re engaged in for sixty to ninety days prior to filing. Having an attorney’s guidance in advance can ensure you avoid case-altering mistakes.
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