Most of the time I carry some level of stress, and I bet you do too. I feel useful and important when I am dealing with serious matters. Of course, with serious matters come tension and concern which are friendly synonyms for stress. My stress level goes down when I know how to deal with a situation even if it involves difficult tasks or short deadlines. The converse is also true: when I am confronted with serious matters I am unable to properly address, my stress level skyrockets. I think most people are similar to me in this respect.
Today I agreed to represent a man with serious financial problems. He had always paid his bills until he became disabled a couple years ago. Since that time he applied for Social Security Disability, and his claim is pending. Most people do not realize it but the Social Security Disability approval process routinely drags on one to two years before the claimant gets a dime! For this man, he exhausted his savings and incurred credit card and other debts to cover basic living expenses while pursuing his Disability claim. As the months went by he went further and further in debt. Then came the day he was unable to make the required minimum payments and his debts became delinquent. Unfortunately for him, the stakes went up when he was sued by one of his creditors for failing to make monthly payments. Very serious, very stressful. The lawsuit was the last straw. Does he need to go to court? What should he tell the judge? Something needs to happen, but what? In additional to his financial problems he realized the months of waiting for Social Security Disability combined with mounting debts were causing him to shut down emotionally.
He and I agreed that knowledge is power. I assured him I had the knowledge and we could work together to deal with his situation. I explained the judge’s role in the collection lawsuit is to determine if he owed the money, and inability to pay is not a defense. The lawsuit is a civil action so he was not being accused of a crime and had no reason to fear going to jail. As I explained the law to him I saw him start to relax. We had not begun to fix his problems but already things were improving.
I explained that the bankruptcy laws provide debt forgiveness to people that can demonstrate a financial hardship. To obtain that forgiveness requires quite a bit of paperwork and several appointments. We put together a plan to get the papers together and scheduled his next appointment. He told me that having a plan to deal with his finances eliminated the uncertainty and gave him a sense of control he had not had for many months.
Many people think my job must be depressing because I hear about people’s problems day after day. In fact, my job is very satisfying because I solve people’s problems every day.
At the Law Office of Michael Primus we have helped thousands of clients get out of debt, stop wage garnishments, and start fresh through bankruptcy. If you live in Contra Costa, Alameda or Solano counties and have debt problems, contact us for a free in-office consultation. We have offices in Walnut Creek, Antioch, and Hercules.