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Public Benefits Cannot Tell Your Creditors To Get Lost, But A Consumer Law Attorney Can


The economic disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic pushed hundreds of thousands of Americans to apply for public benefits such as rental assistance, unemployment benefits, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  Many of these applicants had never applied for any kind of government assistance before, and they quickly learned what people who had received public benefits before the pandemic already knew, namely, that when life gives you lemons, Uncle Sam makes it extraordinarily difficult to receive the money you have the legal right to claim.  The pandemic-era recipients of public assistance reached that position in the same way that the pre-pandemic recipients did, namely through illnesses and injuries, unexpected job losses, and family caregiving obligations.  They also found out, as their predecessors had, that once you apply for public assistance, or once you receive it, the debt collectors do not leave you alone; if anything, they try harder to wear you down and get you to pay.  If you applied for public benefits during the pandemic because your employer closed up shop or because long COVID has kept you out of work for months, a Philadelphia debt collection attorney may not be able to make it easier to deal with the government bureaucracy that manages your benefits, but they can help you find the best strategies for getting your creditors to leave you alone.

The Public and Private Sectors Alike Prey on People Experiencing Financial Hardship

The current debate about overdraft fees has drawn attention to just one of the many ways that businesses prey on people with low incomes.  If you dare to get sick or injured, you can easily end up with thousands of dollars in medical bills.  The hospital threatens to sue you if you don’t pay, so you enroll in a payment plan.  Since you were already living paycheck to paycheck, making the minimum payments on the payment plan leaves you without enough money for groceries, so you apply for SNAP benefits.  Months later, when your first SNAP payment arrives, it is virtually impossible even to check your SNAP balance, so you are always estimating how much money your family members spent every time they bought groceries without you.  The stress never ends.  Still, creditors keep pestering you.

The good news is that app developers have created some user-friendly apps to help recipients manage their benefits, and several states (unfortunately not Pennsylvania) have implemented these.  The bad news is, no matter how much financial stress you are under, business to consumer lawsuits continue, and so does the constant contact from creditors by phone, by post, and now by email, text message, and social media, too.  A consumer law attorney can help you get out of this mess by helping you pay some creditors and shoo the others away.

Let Us Help You Today

A consumer law attorney can help you develop a debt repayment strategy even if you are suffering from multiple sources of financial stress.  Contact Louis S. Schwartz at CONSUMERLAWPA.com to set up a free, confidential consultation.



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