One of the things I’d add to this conversation

is to use the letter format which Bobby has already provided, rather than talking to them on the phone. When you submit written notification, it goes into your permanent record with that particular entity. Anyone who wants to see what your most recent statements have been, will refer to that letter. On the other hand, any phone calls you make may or may not be logged, and your statements/intentions will be transcribed by whoever takes the call. That transcription can be inaccurate at best, and twisted beyond recognition at worst. More than one person on this list (us included) have had conversations which we thought went really well, but which were transcribed in a way which made us sound like selfish, ungrateful, dishonest deadbeats who have no intention of paying anyone back.

Another suggestion is to NOT answer the phone if they call you. Get caller ID if you don’t already have it, and let any unknown calls go to voicemail. The employees who call are TRAINED in ways to intimidate, threaten, dominate and otherwise control the conversation. They’ll have you thinking you’re going to have to sell your favorite family member (or pet, whichever is higher in your priorities) before you’ll be able to make things right. By working with them in writing, all that pressure goes away. We didn’t answer the phone for three years because of that; we had our bill repayment on schedule and under control, and we didn’t need any additional pressure or stress in our lives.

I wholeheartedly second Bobby’s statement that you have more power in these conversations than you realize. Use that to your advantage, by leveraging that power with methods which guarantee your intentions and statements are preserved and honored. Don’t play in their preferred sandbox. Demand that they deal with you in ways and forms which accurately record and preserve your statements.

Finally, hang in there. Many (most?) of us have been where you are. Right now it looks like you’ll never dig out; stick with the DR program and you’ll get there. We did, and so did a lot of other folks here. You’re in a lot of good company.


You do NOT need to work with any external credit counseling entity. In fact, some of them can screw you up pretty badly. You can do the same thing by talking to your creditors directly. If they won’t work with you, they move to the bottom of the list. Remember, you have what they want – money. That means you have more power in this negotiation than you realize…

Wait – just your debt payments ALONE are more than your income?!?

Not even counting food, housing, transportation? As you’ve likely already figured out, you’ll NEVER get out of debt that way… So, stop paying them. Yeah, they’ll yell, foam at the mouth, and flop on the floor like a 2-year old. But all that won’t get you to give them money you DON’T HAVE…

Send this letter(customized for your situation, of course) to all your creditors. It basically says that you’re in financial straits(true), your expenses are more than your income(true), ans asks if they have any hardship programs that can help you avoid bankruptcy. The ones who are smart and work with you will eventually get their money. The ones who are stupid get put to the bottom of the list.

Do you have a written budget? If not, do that TODAY. List all your incom on one side of the page, and your expenses on the other side of the page. Food should be top of the expense list – if you don’t eat, you won’t live long enough to pay off your debt. 🙂 You need to pay your ‘4 walls’ first – food, shelter, transportation, utilities. If you can cover THOSE with your income, you can work on the rest. If you canNOT cover those, you’ll need to make serious changes so you can. You may have to get a second job, or move to a cheaper place to live, or downsize your transportation. If you’re making payments on an SUV, sell it!
If you feel comfortable posting your income and expenses, someone here should be able to give more concrete suggestions.

That is how my insurance is

They pay nothing until the deductible. Even better is that it is a family deductible so we have to reach $6,000 before they pay anything. That $6,000 can be from just one person, or the total medical bills for the family. My copays don’t kick in until we reach the deductible. So if I go to the dr for a sick visit then I pay the whole dr bill myself (well visits like yearly checkups and the kids vaccinations are covered 100% by insurance). We then have an Out of Pocket Max of like $7,000. The copays that we pay after reaching the deductible count toward that $7,000. The copays apply to ER visits, dr visits, and medication, But not to tests, or hospital stays, ect. So we pay the first $6,000 of medical bills, then we pay and additional $1,000 in copays to reach the $7,000 out of pocket max. So that is not a strange or crazy insurance. On the “plus” side – with a deductible like that, you should be eligible to open an HSA (Health Savings Account). The money you put into an HSA is pre-tax and then you can use the HSA funds for medical bills including dental and vision.