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How Did I Get Here and How Do I Get Out? — Handling Debt During a Pandemic

Job losses and a reduction in supplemental unemployment benefits have led people through the Houston area to rely on credit cards and unsecured personal loans to try to make ends meet during the pandemic. Once temporary relief programs expire, many Texans will be facing repossessions, evictions and foreclosures.

As debt relief attorneys, we are passionate about helping people get control of their financial situations as we hopefully enter a post-pandemic world. There are several debt management steps that can prove useful in dealing with COVID-induced debt troubles.

First, take an in-depth look at where you are spending your money. Write down where every cent goes for one month. Be honest with yourself and list every expenditure. At the end of the month, put everything into categories — housing, food, gas, recreation, etc. — and total it all up. Then see if you can find places to cut back. This basic budgeting exercise can be a great help in turning things around.

Another positive step is to communicate with your creditors early and often about repayment difficulties. Many companies, from mortgage servicers to utilities, know that people are struggling during COVID-19 and they may work with you to come up with solutions. Don’t expect the creditors to give you help automatically, though. You need to call them and ask what options they have available.

Next, consider applying for any benefits programs you may be eligible for, whether it be food assistance, housing assistance or other types of aid. You can find COVID-19 assistance information on the Texas Health and Human Services website.

Finally, exercise caution when exploring offers of assistance in managing your debt. During the COVID-19 crisis, you may be contacted and presented with various debt relief options that sound amazing. Solicitors may promise to eliminate all your debt for free, to issue some type of credit card or loan or to provide other enticing solutions. Be very wary of any such offers. They could be identity theft scams. And if they aren’t ID theft scams, the actual “solutions” may push you further into debt.

If you are simply overwhelmed and afraid you can’t escape your debt, it’s time to talk to an experienced debt relief lawyer who can help you negotiate certain relief, protect you from credit card lawsuits and ultimately help you decide whether to file for bankruptcy protection or pursue bankruptcy alternatives.

The Law Office of David A. Fernandez, P.C. has been helping Texans deal with debt throughout the pandemic. Our attorneys are ready to meet you and explain how we can help you get your financial life back on track. Please call our Houston office at 713-893-8509 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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