Be at ease; your Social Security can’t be garnished for credit card debt. But you still need to get a budget together.
Dear Credit Guy,
I recently became unemployed but do have Social Security benefits to pay the necessities. Can the credit card company garnish my monthly benefits because I’m unable to pay? I’ve requested the credit card company to modify my payments or decrease the interest rate in the past, but to no avail. I rent, no car, no other assets. Outstanding credit card balance is $7,000. I would appreciate a response. — R.D.
It is very unfortunate that you are among the many people who have recently lost their jobs. You do at least have some income with your Social Security benefits, which should provide you with some peace of mind that you are able to meet your essential expenses.
Although your credit card debt is unsecured debt and the credit card company cannot garnish your Social Security benefits, you may still have options to pay what you owe and keep your credit history from getting any worse than it may already be. In a joint effort with the Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA), the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) recently announced a new program with credit card issuers that allows many people who would otherwise not qualify to repay their debts in a Debt Management Program (DMP).
The “Call to Action” program gives credit counselors more options to qualify consumers with lower income levels for repayment plans that will allow them to pay what they owe on their credit card balances. To learn more and determine if repaying your debt through a DMP is the best option for you, contact a qualified credit counselor through FCAA or NFCC.
Until you are able to find another job, you must create a spending plan to live on your Social Security benefits alone. To do that you will need to make the necessary adjustments to your spending habits to avoid going into the hole each month. It sounds from your question like you may be well on your way to accomplishing this goal. Keep in mind that “wants” will have to be forgone for “needs” until you can increase your income.
Take care of your credit!