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Do you have debt you can't afford to pay?

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HELPS is a nonprofit law firm and 501(c)(3) charitable organization. We serve senior citizens and disabled persons struggling with debt.

Call HELPS now to learn how your retirement income is protected by law and how we can help.

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Need immediate help? Call 855-435-7787 to speak to a HELPS representative.

HELPS and Credit

How Joining HELPS Will Affect Your Credit Rating

It is kind of a complicated answer and I guess a summary would be “it depends.” Yes when you stop paying debt, no matter why, depending on the creditor, that can reflect poorly on your credit. For example, medical bills will often not report negative credit, credit cards do. But consider that bankruptcy shows on your credit also up to ten years.


Many HELPS clients have credit they want to retain, a credit card for example. As long as they pay that credit they can keep it. As long as the credit card you want to keep is not supported by a bank for another credit card that you are not paying. For example Scynchrony Bank supports different types of credit cards. If you stop paying one, even if you are current on another that will be shut off also. A credit card does not care if you don’t pay your other debt as long as you pay them, whereas in bankruptcy, all credit cards are shut down whether you owe them anything or not. They subscribe to a service that advises them when a bankruptcy is filed. Bankruptcy eliminates all credit, with HELPS you can keep the credit you want to keep.


Credit availability in general has changed since the great recession of 2008. A person could have an excellent credit score today, but still be denied credit. Why, because a person’s income shows inability to pay debt. Income is a factor now more than ever before. Many lower income seniors have incomes that support basic needs only. For example if a persons income was only a $1000 per month it is not logical that any legitimate creditor would ever extend credit. Their income does not indicate an ability to support a payment for credit. Therefore credit is denied. There are some areas that come up regularly where credit is desired. These include renting and purchasing a car. I will address those areas here.


Some HELPS clients are concerned about credit because of concerns about renting. HELPS provides letters to clients with poor credit that explains to a prospective landlord that despite what credit may show , all the HELPS client’s income is protected by federal law and is available to pay rent. Many landlords do not understand this. So this letter is very helpful. For almost all of our clients this letter solves the problem of poor credit and renting. You can always contact us to get a “prospective landlord letter.”


In regards to financing the purchase of a car, the answer again is “it depends.” For lower income seniors sometimes it is not wise to finance a car- they simply can’t afford a car payment. We sometimes counsel lower income seniors that need transportation about how to purchase a car for cash. Good reliable transportation is almost always available for around $1000 or even less. For those that want to finance a car, our experience is that there is almost always is someone willing to finance a car. Higher interest can be expected. But then that would be the same after bankruptcy also. We have a detailed article about purchasing a car fro cash that you can request.


HELPS does not improve your credit score. HELPS is not bankruptcy so the debts are still owed. They can still report on your credit score. However time does heal old wounds. There is a statute of limitations. Things do fall off of credit reports. We have had many clients report to us improvement in their credit scores over time who are part of HELPS. Many collectors simply don’t report to a credit bureau. We also have access to a service called that educates persons on rebuilding their credit. You can call us and we can enroll you for free in that program. Secured credit cards are always available to anyone with poor credit. You put money in a savings account with a certain bank and they provide a credit cards secured by the money in the savings account.

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Peace of Mind
These HELPS clients were dealing with harassing debt collectors and anxiety over old Debt. HELPS provided a solution to their financial worries.