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Filing for bankruptcy doesn't mean that you can just forget about debts. Instead, you will have to make sure that you are handling the responsibilities that you have in the case. These can vary some based on the chapter you file, but you should make sure you understand what you need to do for your case.

We realize that you just want to find relief from the debts that are making your life miserable. Filing will put the automatic stay into place that you can answer your phone without worrying about a creditor being on the other end. They can't contact you to collect the debt once you file.

One thing that some individuals don't realize is that they have to go through credit counseling in order to file. Don't balk at this. When you do it, you will be able to take a deep look at your finances. This can help you now, but it can also prove useful in the future as you start to piece your finances back together.

You also have to determine what chapter you are going to file. This is important because it directly impacts your finances during the process, as well as your assets. If you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will have to make payments to the trustee. You will be placed on a payment plan that you must keep up with.

There might be times that are difficult during the bankruptcy. Keep your eye on the finish line. We are here to help you learn about what you will need to do throughout the case.

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The Social Security Disability Insurance program is meant to help workers who become disabled and can't work. Unfortunately, many of these individuals will have to fight for the benefits that are due to them. This can be a real challenge, because they still need to pay bills that come with living their life.

We know that you might find this process to be challenging. At times, it might be infuriating. We can help you to find out what you need to do during your case so that you can begin to move things along. The process isn't always easy, but we can work with you to figure out how to get you what you are due.

One of the things that is difficult about filing for disability benefits is the waiting period. These applications can sometimes involve long processing times, multiple doctor visits and more waiting. The entire process can take two years or more, and you have to figure out how to make ends meet until you receive benefits.

There are instances in which people might qualify for a faster processing time. Expedited processing is often associated with fatal conditions that might not allow the person the chance to wait on the normal process. We can help with these cases.

If you are denied benefits and feel this decision was an error, we can help you with the appeal process. Make sure that you read your documents thoroughly so that you know what you need to do to appeal. There are also time limits in these cases, so taking your time to decide what to do isn't possible. We are here to help with this process too.

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The decision to file for bankruptcy often feels like one of the biggest decisions in your life. As you move through the process, you will soon find that the financial stability is freeing in a way. Whether you are living through a Chapter 13 that requires you to make payments to the trustee or had to deal with a Chapter 7 that liquidated your assets, you are probably looking forward to the day when you can start to rebuild your credit.

The life that you live after bankruptcy will be much different than before. For one thing, you will have to rebuild your credit. This usually requires that you start off with a less desirable credit card that has small limits and higher interest. As time progresses and you make the payments on time, your credit limit might increase. Eventually, your credit will be good, but only if you are paying the bills on time.

One good thing about trying to get your finances on track with bankruptcy is that you will have to go through education courses that help you to learn how to use credit wisely and budget your money. These can make your new life much easier since you will have the tools you need to be financially responsible.

You need to plan to live on your income only during the bankruptcy because you can't obtain new credit, no matter how small, until the court approves of the new lines of credit. This likely won't happen so plan to cut back on the expenses you have until the bankruptcy is over.

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If you count yourself among those who have an injury or disability severe enough to keep you from re-entering the workforce, you may be considering applying for Social Security Disability Insurance from the U.S. Social Security Administration. Whether you are ultimately eligible for SSDI benefits depends on several factors, among them your previous tax contributions and work history, but if you are able to obtain them, they may help you get by in the absence of employment income.

The SSDI benefit system is frequently misunderstood, however, and there are many myths and misconceptions that surround it. The more you understand the system and application process, the better your chances of receiving approval for your SSDI benefits claim. So, before you file your SSDI benefits claim, know that:

You may need more than your doctor’s word

While having your doctor attest that you do, in fact, have a debilitating, long-term disability that prevents you from working is certainly important, recognize that your doctor’s word does not necessarily mean that you will have your claim approved right off the bat. The more documentation you can gather about your condition, the better, so track all your treatments and medical visits with extreme care to improve your chance of an approval.

You may need to reapply periodically

Many people mistakenly assume that once you gain approval for SSDI benefits, you are set up to receive them for the duration of your life. This is sometimes, but not always, the case. Typically, the SSA will conduct a review of your condition every so often to ensure that your disability is still severe enough to warrant SSDI benefits.

Severe, work-related disabilities are not uncommon

While you may think severe, long-term disabilities are rare, the fact is, about one in every four 20-year-old American workers will suffer a disability before they reach the age of retirement.

Nowadays, about 33 percent of all SSDI benefits claims received in a year are approved. If you receive a denial in response to your claim, you may be able to appeal the decision.

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A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is one type that a consumer might file. Unlike the Chapter 7 filing, a Chapter 13 means that you are going to have to make repayments to the court for some of the debts. This form is often called the wage earners plan since you need to have an income so that you can make the payments.

One thing that some people appreciate about Chapter 13 filings is that they can often stop a foreclosure proceeding when they file. This is because the terms of the bankruptcy might enable them to have the means to pay the mortgage. It is important to note that all payments for the mortgage must be made on time through the course of the bankruptcy.

The payments that you make to the bankruptcy trustee will be made on a set schedule. While you are making these payments, you likely won't have much extra money to do things once your normal bills are paid. This is due to the structure that is set for the payments. Once you have made all payments according to the schedule that is set, any remaining balance with the creditors that were involved in the case will be discharged.

It is imperative that you make on-time payments on your other bills during the course of the bankruptcy. This includes spousal support or child support payments since these must be current in order for the bankruptcy to be finalized.

If you are considering a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, remember that getting your case filed sooner can mean that you experience the relief of the program faster. This could help you have reduced stress in your life.

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When you can't work because of a disability, you will still need a way to support yourself. There are two programs that administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). There are some stark differences between them so you should learn about these before you file your application.

One of the biggest differences is that Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is for people who have a specific number of credits from working. The number of credits depends on how much you have worked within a specified number of years, usually the last 10 years.

For the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, there are means and asset limitations. This program is for children and people who don't have the work history that is necessary for the SSDI program.

For both programs, the person who applying must have a disability that prevents him or her from having gainful employment. This means that they won't be able to support themselves through a regular job.

You mustn't think that the process of getting disability is a quick one. The process is often a hurry-up-and-wait situation wherein you apply for the benefits, wait for a letter telling you what to do and then follow those instructions. You might have to go to medical evaluations with the SSA's doctors to determine if you do have a severe disability.

Even if you should qualify, there is a chance that you will be denied. You need to look at this carefully. Read over all notifications. Strict time limits and processes exist for appealing the decisions that the SSA makes regarding your disability.

Source: The Motley Fool, "7 Things You Need to Know About Social Security Disability Benefits," Matthew Frankel, accessed June 13, 2018

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Many people worry about being able to live once they file for bankruptcy protection. While it is true that this process will impact your ability to get credit for a while, it isn't the end of the world. In fact, it is often better to file for bankruptcy than it is to have a bunch of unpaid, charged-off accounts on your credit report.

If you are worried about being able to rebuild your credit, you don't have to worry at all. You can actually start this process well in advance of the day you actually get credit again. One of the first things that you need to do is to give your money a job. Each dollar that you bring in should be budgeted so that you know where it is going before it is deposited.

Once you know where your money is going, you can adjust the plan as needed to help you meet your goals. This might not happen all at once. It will likely be a lengthy process that you have to go through to get to where you need to be after you file for this type of financial protection.

Make sure that you get into the habit of paying all of your bills on time. You don't want to have any that are late, especially if it is a creditor who will report to the credit bureaus. This can also help you when you do get credit again because you will expect that you have to pay the bill on time.

When you do get new credit, take the time to review the terms that come with it. You will likely have to start with low credit lines, such as department store cards. Pay these on time to establish a recent, positive payment history. Over time, you will likely be able to increase your borrowing power.

Source: The Street, "Bouncing Back From Bankruptcy - Sooner Than You Think," Brian O'Connell, accessed June 08, 2018

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Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is meant to be a safety net for people who are disabled to the point that they can't support themselves through work. The issue that some individuals find when they file for these benefits is that they have to expend their energy fighting for them.

SSDI applications often go through many different steps before they are approved or denied. These steps can include requests for more information, doctor's appointments and other activities. When you are dealing with a disabling condition, going through all of this can drain your energy to the point that you can't function with normal life activities.

We know that you probably never thought that you would have to go through all of this. You were likely a hard worker who didn't mind putting in a day of work for honest pay. Now, all you want is to know that the program set up to help disabled workers is going to work as it should.

Many SSDI applications are denied, but you have the right to appeal that decision. There are very strict time limits that apply to appeals, so make sure you don't waste time. If the time limit does pass by, you will have to start the application process all over again.

With the lengthy application and processing time for SSDI, you can't count on this as an immediate way to cover expenses when you are disabled. We can help you try to get this handled as quickly as possible, but you should be prepared to wait while the process moves forward.

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When you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, appearing at meetings is not something you will ordinarily have to do outside of getting together with your attorney.

However, there is one meeting you will be required to attend. The 341 meeting, as it is called, is all about debts and creditors, and getting through it will not be as difficult as you might think.

About the meeting

In the United States Bankruptcy Code, Section 341 sets forth the requirement for a debtor to be examined under oath at a gathering of his or her creditors. Hence the name given to the meeting. You will not have to appear before the judge; the 341 meeting will be held outside of court. A trustee who is assigned by the United States Trustee will be in charge. The trustee will ask you questions about your current financial status, the property you own and the liabilities you have, and you will provide the answers under penalty of perjury. In advance of the meeting, your attorney will likely provide pertinent documents, such as your bank statements, tax returns, car titles and the like, so that the trustee can review them.

Inviting creditors

The 341 meeting is also known as the meeting of creditors because they will be notified and invited to attend. The good news from your standpoint is that they rarely accept the invitation, but anyone who does appear can question you about the disposition of your assets and any other topic that is pertinent to the administration of your bankruptcy matter. On the other hand, creditors who choose not to come to the meeting will not lose any of their rights relative to your case.

A word of caution

Your bankruptcy attorney will accompany you to the 341 meeting, and you will be reminded of the requirement to appear. If you do not, the trustee can request that the court dismiss your case. Keep in mind that the meeting usually only takes a few minutes and your attorney will see that you are well-prepared. The purpose is to provide the trustee with the information he or she needs to efficiently manage your bankruptcy case.

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Some people live with crippling bouts of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This extreme stress reaction to reminders of past traumatic events can sometimes meet the qualifications of a disability. The PTSD sufferer may then be able to receive disability benefits.

In determining whether or not the PTSD condition qualifies applicants for disability benefits, the severity of the condition matters a great deal. The effects of PTSD are on a spectrum ranging from mild symptoms that slightly disrupt someone's life to severely debilitating symptoms that make living a normal life impossible.

If you suffer from the more extreme version of symptoms, you may qualify for disability benefits.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth edition (DSM-5), the American Psychiatric Association (APA) states that PTSD can have extreme consequences for its victims' ability to function in society.

Below are some examples:

  • Occupational disabilities
  • Physical disabilities
  • Social disabilities
  • Reduction in occupational and educational success
  • Absenteeism from school or work

Those suffering from PTSD typically have optimistic prognoses. Roughly half of adult sufferers recover completely within 90 days. Still, some will have to live with their conditions for long periods — one to 50 years. That can be daunting.

Are you struggling to cope with the lingering effects of PTSD after living through one or more traumatic events? You don't have to soldier on alone, as there is help available to you. Reach out to medical professionals and a Belleville Social Security Disability attorney to learn what you need to do to access the government benefits that may be available to you.

Source: Healthy Place, "Is PTSD a disability? How to get PTSD disability benefits," Tanya J. Peterson, accessed May 25, 2018

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