Over the last few weeks, America has been dealing with an unprecedented situation. As many states, including New York & New Jersey shutdown all non-essential businesses, many people were hit with the realities of unemployment, reduced earnings, job furloughs and more. The impact has been immediate and widespread.

Debt collectors can be relentless and ruthless even in the face of a pandemic. Lee Fang of The Intercept reported last week how The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, also known as ACA International, was claiming that “debt collectors” were essential employees in order to respond to pressure and legislation by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), that certain debt collection activities be paused during the shutdown. This group is fighting hard to collect money from people already under great duress.

This is the same group that spent $780,000 lobbying federal officials to expand the use of robocalls and other aggressive tactics. Fang accurately portrays the looming nature of collectors: “Unending debt collection calls amid shelter-in-place orders only adds to the level of tension in homes across the country.”

Government officials recognized this and worked to create an economic stimulus package that provides some temporary relief for individuals and options for small businesses to arrange operating funds. As part of the newly-passed C.A.R.E.S. ACT (2020), federal student loan payments are going to be deferred and the government is urging private student loan carriers to do the same. Unemployment insurance as been increased, $1,200 checks are on their way, banks have developed programs for mortgage relief, billions have been made available to businesses in the form of forgivable loans, and the Labor Dept. is working to streamline processes for unemployment claims.

These efforts are meant to stop the financial strain from becoming worse and provide relief to businesses and individuals alike. Still, many people will suffer significant financial losses and will have an uncertain job future once society begins a return to normal. People will be taken advantage of. Others will be scammed despite their best intentions.

This is why we work so hard to protect consumers. We know the ways debt collectors harass and intimidate individuals. We also understand how to navigate your legal rights and achieve a path to financial recovery.

We are all in this together. We have seen many examples of people coming together to support members of their community. These examples highlight the American spirit that will help us all recover, both physically and financially. We hope for your continued health and safety. We also hope your finances don’t suffer greatly. We realize that no matter the reason for your monetary woes, your overall goal is to improve your financial situation as quickly as possible for as little as possible. We offer free consultations to help you understand the process, your rights and the options available to you.

Understand Important Resources That May Be Available.

  1. www.USA.gov/coronavirus — The starting point for all federal programs and information.
  2. www.IRS.gov — The tax filing deadline was moved from April 15 to July 15.
  3. www.SBA.gov — The Small Business Administration has several programs for businesses.
  4. labor.ny.gov — The NYS Dept. of Labor has info for unemployment insurance and eligibility.
  5. www.npr.org — “What’s Inside the Senate’s $2 Trillion Coronavirus Aid Package”

References:

Online Posting. “Debt Collection Industry Deems Itself Essential to “Financial Health” of Consumer, Fights Covid-19 Shutdown.” – The Intercept. Fang, Lee. — https://theintercept.com/2020/03/27/debt-collection-industry-deems-itself-essential-to-financial-health-of-consumers-fights-covid-shutdown/ March 27, 2020.

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