How to Get Debt Relief in Georgia
George Simons | July 21, 2022
SoloSuit is on its way to rescue you from debt
Summary: If you're struggling with debt in Georgia, SoloSuit can help you find the relief you need.
When it comes to personal finance and debt management, Georgia residents are not doing great. For example, at the end of 2020, Georgia was ranked seventh in the nation for total credit card debt carried by residents. In addition, the Peach State was ranked fifth for student loan debt, and third in the entire country for the average amount owed toward auto loan debt.
These statistics explain why one study ranked Georgia residents in the top-10 (No. 6 specifically) for bad money management skills. Georgia residents achieved this dubious honor due to the aforementioned debt loads being carried by the average resident, along with the state's median household income (29th) and average credit score (45th).
If you are a resident of Georgia and staring at a mountain of debt, now is the time for action. Now is the time to explore debt relief options in Georgia.
Let's jump right in.
Explore these debt relief programs in Georgia
Residents of Georgia struggling with debt may be able to access state and local programs to help get them through a phase of financial hardship. These programs typically provide financial assistance housing, subsidized child care, foreclosure aid, medical expenses, legal aid, utility bill relief, and benefits for purchasing groceries. Below is a list of just some of the assistance programs available to Georgia residents:
- PeachCare for Kids: Offers low-cost or free health insurance for children up to the age of 19, can help families pay medical bills and health care expenses. Children under the age of 6 are covered free.
- Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS): Typically administered at the county level, CAPS provides assistance to low income and working poor Georgia families to find and afford quality childcare for youngsters up to the age of 13 (or 18 if the child is disabled).
- Georgia Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF): Provides a monthly cash-assistance grant program designed for low-income families who have children in their household under the age of 18.
- Georgia Housing Finance Agency Innovation Fund for the Hardest Hit Housing Markets: Provides assistance to Georgia residents who suffered a reduction in income, such as a layoff, reduced hours, or other decrease in income.
- Private Student Loan Relief: Provides a network of financial counselors who link troubled families with trustworthy agencies for financial assistance with private student loans.
Georgia debt collection laws protect you
If you owe debt, you may be familiar with the aggressive tactics that debt collectors use to get you to pay it off. Luckily, Georgia and the federal government have debt collection laws in place to protect you from abusive debt collection practices.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that keeps debt collectors in check and protects consumers like you. Under the FDCPA, debt collectors cannot:
- Call you to discuss a debt before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Discuss your debts with anyone but you or your attorney.
- Call you at your workplace if your employer prohibits such communications.
- Use threatening, offensive, or vulgar language to get you to pay a debt.
- Threaten to take legal action that they do not plan to, or cannot, pursue.
- Pretend to be a police officer or judge.
If you feel like you are a victim of one of these FDCPA violations, you should report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Georgia also has state-specific laws to protect consumers. One of the most important laws in place is the statute of limitations on debt in Georgia. This is basically a deadline that debt collectors must follow to be able to sue for a debt in court. If the statute of limitations is past, debt collectors cannot take certain cases to court.
Learn about the statute of limitations on debt in Georgia for different types of debt:
Georgia Statute of Limitations
Deadline in Years
If you start making payments on an old debt, the clock will reset on the statute of limitations, so make sure to check it before you pay a debt collector anything. A debt collector may keep contacting you about an old debt, but they won't be able to sue you for it once it passes the statute of limitations.
These strategies can help you get debt relief in Georgia
The list below is a sampling of different strategies you could consider adopting to help pay down your debt.
- Consolidate your multiple debts into a single loan: If you have a decent credit score, you may want to consider taking out a debt consolidation loan. The advantage of a consolidation loan is that it helps streamline your monthly debt payment and usually carries a lower interest rate (when compared to the interest rates charged on credit card balances).
- Take advantage of a credit card balance transfer: Similar to a consolidation loan, you could simplify and streamline your monthly debt payments by transferring multiple balances to a single credit card. Many banks and financial institutions offer zero-interest credit card balance transfers as a way to gain business and increase their customer base. You could take advantage of a zero-interest transfer with the goal of getting the balance on the transferred card paid off within the zero interest period (typically between 12 and 18 months).
- Negotiate a debt settlement with your creditors: Debt settlement basically means you try to negotiate with your creditors to get them to accept less than what is owed on the account. If you try to get a creditor to accept a debt settlement plan, you will need to pitch them on the advantages of accepting a lump sum payment toward the amount owed, even though the lump sum is smaller than the actual total amount owed. Some financial institutions are open to this type of proposal if they are concerned you will not be able to fully repay the amount owed and they will have to ultimately discharge the account or sell it off to a debt collection agency.
- Hire a debt settlement company: Another option available to residents of the Peach State for figuring out how to get debt relief in Georgia is hiring a debt settlement company. Basically, a debt settlement company will take the burden off your shoulders of negotiating a debt settlement with your creditors and do the work on your behalf. Though, it is important to note that there are risks with using a debt settlement company and there may be negative impacts on your credit score.
- File for bankruptcy: this should not be your first option, but should be an option on the table if other attempts to get debt relief in Georgia are unsuccessful. If you decide to file for bankruptcy, there are benefits when it comes to the debt you owe. In fact, this option can effectively wipe away a large chunk of your credit card debt. However, this comes at a cost. For example, your credit score will take a big hit and not fully recover for at least seven years. In addition, if you file for bankruptcy, it could make it difficult for you to qualify for a home loan or auto loan afterwards.
If you reside in Georgia and are struggling with a significant amount of debt (whether that be credit card debt, student loan debt, medical debt, etc.), do not throw your hands up in despair and embrace a life where you are perpetually dragged down by debt service payments. There are options available to show you how to get debt relief in Georgia. Those options may include:
- Applying for one or more of the various Georgia-specific financial assistance programs
- Taking out a debt consolidation loan to streamline your liabilities
- Work with a debt settlement company
- File for bankruptcy
No matter the option you choose, SoloSuit is here to help. Check out these informational resources to provide additional insight on the best ways to get debt relief:
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