Patrick Austin | April 13, 2023
Summary: If you are considering debt settlement as a way to reduce or eliminate an ever-growing credit card balance, an important question needs to be answered: Do you even qualify for debt settlement? Generally, debt settlement is only an option for someone who can provide evidence of financial hardship or who has defaulted on their debt. Keep reading to learn more.
People struggling with a significant amount of credit card debt, medical debt, and other forms of consumer debt may be contemplating signing up for a debt settlement program or possibly attempting to negotiate a debt settlement on their own with creditors. However, there is a prerequisite that needs to be addressed before considering different debt settlement programs, strategies and techniques.
Do you qualify for debt settlement? This article offers insights that can help answer this important question.
Before taking a deep dive into the qualifications for debt settlement, let’s go over some basics:
Debt settlement, particularly credit card debt settlement, is basically shorthand for when someone reaches an agreement with their creditor, or creditors, to make a lump sum payment covering a percentage of their current debt balance, along with fees and finance charges, in exchange for a portion of the debt balance being wiped away and, ultimately, a reduced monthly payment.
You can pursue debt settlement for the following types of debt:
There are basically two types of debt settlement:
If you opt for self-directed debt settlement, here is how it typically works:
SoloSettle makes self-directed debt settlement simple. Our software sends and receives settlement offers until an agreement is reached, helps you manage the agreement documentation, and transfers your settlement payment so you can keep your financial information secure and private.
Watch this video to learn more about how to settle a debt on your own, once and for all:
Now that we’ve covered some of the basics concerning debt settlement, let’s talk about who qualifies for debt settlement.
First and foremost, credit card debt settlement is typically only a realistic option if you already defaulted on your monthly debt payments or are close to doing so (e.g., you are currently suffering significant financial hardship). A general standard to follow is you typically need to be around 180 days behind on your debt payments to be eligible for debt settlement.
Let's take a look at an example.
Example: Jamie lost her job during the COVID-19 pandemic, and after falling ill herself, she wasn't able to return to work. As a result, Jamie fell behind on her Discover credit card bills. After several months went by, Discover sued her. She took a look at her finances and decided she could afford to pay off 60% of the debt immediately. She used SoloSettle to send an offer to her creditor. After hearing Jamie's story and a few rounds of negotiations, they agreed to settle the debt for 55% of the original amount.
In general, various types of unsecured debt can be negotiated in the context of a debt settlement agreement. Examples of eligible unsecured debt include:
What’s not on this list is “secured” debt, which is considered to be debt backed or secured by a form of collateral that helps mitigate risk to the lender. A prime example of a secured debt typically ineligible for a debt settlement is a type of debt carried by millions of people - student loans. Other examples of secured debt include:
If you are considering pursuing a debt settlement agreement to get a portion of your debt balance wiped away, then you need to be prepared for a potentially-large tax bill. Why? Because creditors are required to report forgiven debt to the Internal Revenue Service, which views forgiven debt, including debt reduced by a debt settlement agreement.
As a result, you will likely receive a 1099-C tax form following a debt settlement agreement that you must include in your gross income for a particular tax year.
The following video explains the tax implications of debt settlement. Check it out.
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>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate
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Out Debt Validation Letter is the best way to respond to a collection letter. Many debt collectors will simply give up after receiving it.
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