My mother can no longer pay off her debts. What do we do?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 18, 2016
Gelsr asked...

I just put my mother in a nursing home. She is in a home just for veterans and state run. The only income she has is Social Security. She receives $979.00 and has to pay $829.00, and have $150.00 for out of pocket expense on account there, and the state pays the rest. She has a credit card payment, but there is not enough left to pay the credit card. What can I do about the credit card payment?

Expert Answers

Steve Weisman hosts the nationally syndicated radio show A Touch of Grey, heard on more than 50 stations, including WABC in New York City and KRLA in Los Angeles. He is a practicing lawyer specializing in estate planning and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. He's a public speaker and commentator who has appeared on many radio and television shows throughout the country, and he's the legal editor of Talkers magazine, the preeminent trade publication of talk radio. His latest book is The Truth About Avoiding Scams.

I am assuming that your mother has no assets from which she can pay her credit card debt. It would be helpful to know the amount of the credit card debt, but regardless, you can attempt to negotiate with the credit card company to pay off the debt with a small lump sum if you are able to come up with an amount to do so. You also should be considering a budget for your mother so that she does not have such problems in the future. As a practical matter,if your mother is without assets and her income is limited to Social Security, it is unlikely that a credit card company would aggresively pursue attempting to collect on the amount owed them, but it is still wise to take care of the debt in some fashion. I suggest that you contact a lawyer to help you with this.

You also should pursue whether your mother is eligible for Veterans Aid and Attendance benefits which can help pay for her costs in the nursing home. Contact the Veterans Administration for more information.