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

Are You Receiving Social Security, Pension or Disability Income?


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.

Laws Protecting Seniors

Federal and state laws govern the collection of debt, dictating what collectors can and cannot do.

“They were calling all day- they were telling my kids they were friends of the family.”

“The calls began early in the morning and lasted late into the evening.”

“Their calls were full of threats- they were simply abusive.”

“They told me I shouldn’t have gone to the hospital if I couldn’t have paid.”

“I didn’t know what to do, I simply didn’t have the money to pay them.”

These are quotes from real seniors illustrating what some senior citizens face every day. The Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently declared collector abuse to be the number one complaint of seniors in the U.S. Seniors who are harassed by collectors have lots of company. The Kaiser Foundation has reported 40% of American seniors over 65 have income within 200% of the poverty line. More retire with old debt they can’t pay than ever before.

Many lower income seniors do not realize that their income, social security, pensions, VA benefits and disability, is protected by federal law. This means it cannot be garnished or taken by collectors for past debt. There are also federal and state laws that govern the collection of debt, what collectors can and cannot do.

Some collectors bend or even flout collection laws. Some will say about anything in collection attempts. Then there are the outright scam artists who prey upon vulnerable seniors, with threats and deception. However armed with some basic knowledge seniors can have the tools to deal with unlawful collection attempts. The federal “Fair Debt Collection Practices Act” governs the collection of debt by collector.. What exactly is prohibited? Contact outside of 8 am or 8 pm. Calling repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse or harass. Contacting a person at their place of employment after having been advised such contact is unacceptable or prohibited by the employer. Contacting a consumer known to be represented by an attorney. Using deceit or misrepresentation to collect a debt including representing that he or she is an attorney or law enforcement official. Communicating with a third party-relative or friend about the debt. One of the most important aspects of the law prohibits further contact by phone or in writing when the collector receives what is called a “cease and desist letter” in writing where the consumer advises that he wishes to receive no further contact. A copy of a cease and desist letter is readily available on the internet or here.

Armed with the knowledge that their income is safe from collectors, seniors can then use federal fair debt collection laws to their advantage. They don’t need to engage in protracted “discussions” with debt collectors. They can write a letter and collector contact must stop. They don’t have to pay old debt and can use the money for their needs like food, medicine and housing. Their income is safe and there are means to stop collector contact.

Learn More About Other Issues and What HELPS Can Do For You.

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.