By: Crystal H. Thornton-Illar, Esq.
Since 1991, bankruptcy filings by Americans who are 65 or older have tripled, according to data from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project. While the American population is getting older, that trend only accounts for a small portion of this significant increase, according to the Consumer Bankruptcy Project Study. The fact is, more and more American senior citizens are finding themselves with overwhelming debt. This trend should not be all that surprising, considering that Americans are living longer, and only a few have any kind of guaranteed pension. While most seniors receive social security payments, it is difficult to survive on those benefits alone, considering the average social security check is approximately $1,400 per month, according to CNBC. The reality is that many seniors face inadequate retirement income along with an ever-increasing cost of living. Despite Medicare coverage, medical expenses are a huge strain on seniors, with many spending a large chunk of their income to cover prescriptions, co-pays, and other expenses not covered by Medicare. Expenses add up quickly, and many seniors are relying on credit cards to pay for things such as food and medicine.
Most people intend to repay their debt, and senior citizens are no exception. However, repayment of debt is not always possible for seniors, especially those dealing with the death of a spouse, which often results in decreased household income, or those who are facing insurmountable medical bills. One costly medical procedure can result in bills that exceed the senior’s yearly income. In those cases, a bankruptcy could be a way out of the debt.
In our experience, many senior citizens wait too long to file bankruptcy, often after depleting their savings and/or retirement accounts, some of which they could have kept had they filed bankruptcy earlier. While every situation is different, many seniors will find that they can retain most of their savings and/or retirement accounts while simultaneously shedding unwanted debt in a bankruptcy.
If you are a senior who is facing overwhelming debt or you have a parent who is facing overwhelming debt, please give us a call or contact us. We would be happy to provide you with a free consultation and discuss the options available to you.
Leech Tishman’s Consumer Bankruptcy team has experience in bankruptcy planning, debt settlement, and negotiation. We are a team of compassionate, knowledgeable, and experienced professionals who can help you solve your personal financial issues. Visit this page to learn more, or contact us to schedule a call.
To learn more about bankruptcy or to discuss any bankruptcy-related questions, please contact Crystal H. Thornton-Illar. Crystal is a Partner in Leech Tishman’s Pittsburgh office and practices in the firm’s Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Practice Group. She can be reached at 412.261.1600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.