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How to Get Debt Relief in Pennsylvania

Sarah Edwards | July 21, 2022

SoloSuit is on its way to rescue you from debt

Summary: If you're struggling with debt in Pennsylvania, SoloSuit can help you find the relief you need.

Pennsylvania, home of the Liberty Bell and birthplace of the Declaration of Independence, is known for its bustling cities and beautiful countryside. Philadelphia is the home of four major league sports teams, giving its residents something to cheer about each season. The state also experiences all four seasons, with snow in the winter and a mild, pleasant summer.

Although Pennsylvania has a lot to offer, its residents often struggle with debt. Rising costs of living and expensive housing costs can make it difficult for the average worker in Pennsylvania to get ahead financially.

The median credit card debt carried by households in Pennsylvania is a staggering $3,711. This debt can lead to an unfortunate cycle of earning money, paying regular costs, and just meeting the minimum debt payments. So what can you do to get some debt relief in Pennsylvania?

Unfortunately, there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution to getting debt relief. The answer will vary depending on your personal circumstances. Keep in mind that any program that offers to settle your debt for free or makes promises that seem too good to be true is probably a scam.

How can I take steps to handle my debt on my own?

The best solution is often to use tried-and-true methods to pay down your debt. Such methods involve getting an accurate picture of your finances, setting up a budget, and devising a way to pay down your debts. If you don't have much extra income to spare, you'll need to be especially thrifty and mindful of what you're spending.

Those with the time to do so may consider taking a second job to add to the cash flow they have available to pay their debts. However, that may not be an option for those with a family to take care of or other responsibilities.

Establishing a budget involves understanding where your money is spent and taking the metaphorical ax to it. You'll want to narrow down any items that you're paying for but don't really need and cut down on the things you can, such as dining out and entertainment. Then you'll need to establish an amount that you can reasonably afford to pay towards your debt.

Next, you'll attack each debt in a (hopefully) strategic manner. There are two common methods that are used to pay down debts. One is the high-interest model, and the other is called "snowballing."

  1. Snowballing is for those who get a sense of relief from paying off one bill quickly and moving to another. If you think you'll be more likely to stick with your program if you see debts paid off systematically, you'll probably want to go with this option.
  2. The high-interest model involves paying debts with the highest interest rates first. If you are motivated by limiting the amount of interest you'll pay to your lenders, this is probably the best method to use.

What we don't recommend is not following any sort of strategy. If you're paying debts willy-nilly, you're not as likely to stick with your goals. You may find yourself back on the debt bandwagon, making minimum payments and not finding a way out of the sandtrap.

The basic premise for both methods is making minimum payments on all of your debts except one. On this one debt, you'll allocate all of the remaining funds you have budgeted in your monthly plan for credit card debt.

You can choose either your smallest debt (the snowball method) or the one with the highest APR (the high-interest method). After you've paid off that debt, you'll move on to the next debt using the same strategy.

Should I take out a debt consolidation loan?

A debt consolidation loan is another method for paying down debt. It involves you taking out a loan from a debt consolidation lender. This loan will ideally cover all of your outstanding debts and will be used to repay each of your old lenders.

In most cases, a debt consolidation loan will start with a low introductory interest rate for a certain period of time. You'll make one regular monthly payment to the new lender. If you're able to, you can take advantage of the low interest rates and pay off your debts within the allotted time period.

Reduce your overall debt with debt settlement

You can potentially reduce the amount you owe to your creditors by using the debt settlement method. There are companies that offer debt settlement programs, or you can potentially settle the debts on your own.

Debt settlement programs work by negotiating with your creditors on your behalf to obtain a settlement arrangement. They handle all of the footwork while you make monthly payments to them in anticipation of settling your debts.

Some debts may be settled for a fraction of their original value, while others may not receive as much relief. It's common for these programs to last as long as three to five years before everything is paid off.

In turn, for their services, you'll pay the debt settlement company a percentage of the overall debt that they settled for you. This amount varies, but it is usually between 15% and 25%. They can't promise how much they'll be able to reduce your debt for, so it's a bit of a tossup.

If you try to settle your debts on your own, you may be able to save significantly more. However, it will take some time on your part, and you'll need to research the methods available thoroughly before starting on this path.

I'm drowning in debt—is it time for bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy should be the very last option that you consider. If you see no way out from under your debt, all options are exhausted, and you just really need a fresh start, you can consider it.

Keep in mind that bankruptcy isn't for everyone, and in some cases, you won't be able to eliminate all debts. It also destroys your credit for a significant period of time.

Pennsylvania has debt collection laws to protect you

As a Pennsylvanian, there are debt collection laws in place to protect consumers like you. Along with the Federal Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA), which prohibits certain actions of debt collectors, Pennsylvania also has a statute of limitations on debt to prevent consumers from being sued for old debts.

The statute of limitations is the time period that a debt collector can sue someone for a debt. Once the statute of limitations has passed on your debt, you cannot be taken to court for it. Each state has a different statute. Learn about the statutes of limitations on different types of debt in Pennsylvania:


Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations
on Debt

Debt Type

Deadline in Years

Auto Loans

4

Rent

21

Written

20 under seal (4 other)

Oral

4

Debt on Account

2

Judgments

4


Source: Findlaw


You should always check the statute of limitations before you agree to make payments to a debt collector, because making a payment on a debt will restart the clock on the statute of limitations.

Explore these Pennsylvania debt relief programs

As a Pennsylvanian, you may have special access to state-funded programs. Check out these Pennsylvania debt relief programs to see if you qualify:

What if I've been sued for debt in Pennsylvania?

If a debt collector or creditor is taking you to court over a debt you owe, you still have options. The first step to winning in court is to respond to the lawsuit. You can use SoloSuit's free Answer form to respond to the case and win in court.

To learn more about how to respond to a debt lawsuit in Pennsylvania, check out this video:

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.

You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.

SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.

Respond with SoloSuit

"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James


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