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Good News on Bad Health – North Carolina Hospitals Back Off Suing Over Bills

Hospital ER

North Carolina hospitals pull back on suing patients over unpaid bills

Image source: Flickr user JonCates

Suffering an illness or accident so serious that you require a hospital stay is bad enough but can be more stressful if you're uninsured or can't afford your co-pay or co-insurance. And what makes it even worse is that many state hospitals have sued former patients who didn't pay their bills. This is, quite literally, adding insult to injury. The good news about these bad debt and bad health occurrences is that area hospitals are now curbing this practice.

Types of Debt Are a Good Indication of Whether Bankruptcy Can Help

Debt dilemma

In debt? Bankruptcy may be a solution

Image source: Flickr user eric731

Being deep in debt can be scary, but not every instance of significant debt is either a cause for alarm or a reason to consider bankruptcy. For example, if you have a pile of debt but are earning a good income such that you can ably service that debt, you're not at a crisis point. And, if your debt is all secured (mortgage, car loan, etc.), but you're struggling to make payments, you may want to try and refinance or renegotiate your finance arrangement rather than filing bankruptcy. However, if you have a lot of unsecured debts that have become unmanageable, bankruptcy may be just the thing to help you regain your financial stability.

Veteran Deep in Debt? How Does Bankruptcy Affect VA Benefits?

VA benefits

How does bankruptcy affect your VA benefits?

Image source: Flickr user North Charleston

If you receive VA benefits and are also dealing with a pile of debts you can't pay, bankruptcy may be a viable solution. Veteran's Administration benefits are paid out to those military members that suffered a partial or total disability related to their service in the armed forces. VA payments can also be made to spouses of a deceased service member, dependent children or their dependent parents. VA monetary benefits are intended to compensate for the economic loss caused by the disability. These benefits are rated from 10% up to 100% based on the amount of disability the VA determines you have.

Could Airbnb Save Your Finances and Your Home?

Airbnb

Airbnb can help you raise money to deal with financial problems

Image source: Flickr user OuiShare

If you're deep in debt and facing foreclosure, have you considered some creative solutions that will allow you to keep your home? Canadian actor and filmmaker Dany Papineau swears by Airbnb as the solution that allowed him to avoid foreclosure, keep his home and even profit. He was on the verge of bankruptcy and was considering selling his home to pay off his debts. He's now making big bucks using Airbnb to rent out his home and has even bought more properties to rent out on the popular hotel-alternative website.

Celebrity Bankruptcy Alert: CSI Actor Gary Dourdan Files Chapter 11 Again

Gary Dourdan

Former CSI star Gary Dourdan recently filed his third bankruptcy

If you watched CSI: Crime Scene Investigation back in its earliest Vegas seasons before it branched out to Miami, New York, LA and now Cyber, you'll recognize Gary Dourdan from his role as Warrick. Dourdan was one of the original stars and was poised to make a fortune from CSI syndication when he lost his job. Dourdan starred in eight seasons of the hit show before getting his walking papers. It seems like that should have set him up for life but, in fact, Dourdan just filed his third bankruptcy within the past five years. Check out the details in today's celebrity bankruptcy profile.

Fraud Alert: Beware Consumer Scams After Recent Ice Storms

North Carolina ice storm

Beware scams after storms and natural disasters

Image source: Flickr user Anthony Crider

Any natural disaster brings out scammers and thieves intent on leveraging fear to line their pockets. Today we'll look at a type of fraudster called a “storm chaser.” One recent scam has swept the South in the wake of winter weather woes. A company called American Shingle, operated by Carlton Dunko, Frank Pureber and Richard Steffy are under investigation by several state attorney generals. They are being accused of cheating customers in Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Florida and Georgia. Today we'll show you how to be on the lookout to protect yourself from similar scams.

Scam Alert: Beware Fraud Calls Demanding Cash for Red Light Camera Tickets

Red light camera

Watch out for red light cameras and a related scam

Image source: Flickr user Nicholas Eckhart

In addition to worrying about tickets from patrolling policemen if you run a red light, these days you must also be on the look out for red light cameras posted at intersections. Of course, it's a bad idea to run a red – you put yourself and others at risk. But sometimes, you can be caught up when you were driving through on a yellow and it turns red faster than you expected, or a car in front of you slows down trapping you in the road. In North Carolina, red light camera tickets run $50-$100 but don't add points to your license. If you get one of these citations in the mail, you should pay it promptly. But a new scam is now using these red light cameras to extort money from victims. Here's what you need to know to protect yourself.

What to Expect from the Bankruptcy Debtor Education Course

Debtor education

After filing bankruptcy, you must complete a debtor education course

Image source: Flickr user 401(k) 2012

Not to be confused with the pre-bankruptcy credit counseling course, the debtor education course takes place after your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 petition is filed and prior to discharge. In fact, you won't receive your discharge even if you've met all the other requirements until you complete this course. How long you have to complete the course will depend on the type of bankruptcy you choose. For Chapter 7, the course must be completed within 60 days of your 341 Meeting of Creditors (that occurs between 21-40 days after your attorney files your petition). For Chapter 13, the course must be completed before you make your last plan payment (most plans last three to five years). Here's what to expect from the bankruptcy debtor education course.

What to Expect from Pre-Bankruptcy Debtor Counseling

Bankruptcy counseling questions

Pre-filing bankruptcy counseling is a breeze

Federal law requires that you complete a counseling session prior to filing for bankruptcy. The law specifies that you must complete the course within 180 days prior to filing. In reality, most debtors complete this counseling as part of their pre-filing process. Most of the time, filers complete the course in their attorney's office on the spot so their lawyer can file the bankruptcy petition the same day. The pre-bankruptcy debtor education course is the same no matter if you're filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Here's what to expect in this counseling course.

Can You Get a Student Loan after Filing for Bankruptcy?

Student loans

Getting a student loan after bankruptcy is possible

When we discuss student loans here in our blog, we're usually looking at how and whether bankruptcy can offer relief from this debt. Today, we're going to look at student loans and bankruptcy from another angle – how bankruptcy can affect your ability to get student loans. Most people first heading to college are 17 or 18 and have no debt issues yet, so they are also not bankruptcy candidates. But for those that never finished college and want to go back as adults, you may wonder how your debts impact your ability to borrow for school.

Former Teen Heartthrob David Cassidy Files Bankruptcy, Owes Millions

David Cassidy

David Cassidy, former teen idol, filed bankruptcy today

If you're a fan of TV Land or are old enough to have watched TV in the 1970s, you may have seen David Cassidy on The Partridge Family. He portrayed Keith Partridge, the oldest child of a family singing group. It was a huge hit show and he was a teen heartthrob of immense standards. His smiling face graced the covers of Tiger Beat and Teen Beat magazine and he seemed to have a dream life. But now he's facing a mega-millions bankruptcy and we have all the details in our latest celebrity bankruptcy news update. After his show was canceled, he had mostly one-off guest spots on an array of popular TV shows and most recently, was a contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice. But now it seems that Cassidy's next appearance will be in bankruptcy court and is likely to be much less glamorous. Cassidy has been struggling with money issues for at least the past five years.

New Study Shows in North Carolina, Rich Pay Less in Taxes Than Poor

North Carolina taxes

New study is critical of NC taxes

A brand new study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that when state and local taxes are factored in: “The very poorest Americans on average pay double the state tax rate paid by the very richest Americans.” Doesn't quite seem fair, does it? In North Carolina, it's not quite double, but it's very close. Today, we'll take a look at what the ITEPs study showed when it came to NC tax disparity.

Celebrity Bankruptcy Update: Todd Chrisley Gets a Sweet Deal in Chapter 7 Case

Todd Chrisley and Julie Chrisley

Todd Chrisley's messy bankruptcy landed wife Julie in hot water

Last year, we covered reality star Todd Chrisley's troubled Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Here's a quick refresher – Chrisley lives in Atlanta with his wife and a whole pile of kids. They star together on top-rated reality show Chrisley Knows Best. The show films primarily in their Georgia mansion and features the family spending and enjoying a seemingly lavish lifestyle. But Chrisley filed both personal and business bankruptcy in 2013 and then the proceedings turned messy.

7 Credit Card Tips to Protect Your FICO Score and Your Wallet

Credit cards

Protect your wallet with these credit card tips

Image source: Flickr user John Lambert Pearson

Credit cards can be the best and worst thing for your credit score and personal finances. You usually need a real credit card (not a debit card) to rent a car and while debit cards are great, if your card is stolen, your bank account can be quickly drained. Even if you file a complaint and get the money back, you can be stuck with an empty wallet for days. On the flip side, if a credit card gets hacked, it's not attached to liquid cash, so waiting for unauthorized charges to reverse can be a lot less stressful. Here are seven tips to get the most out of your credit cards to keep your credit score at its best and the most money in your pocket.

5 Reasons to File Your Tax Return Early

Tax return

Don't delay, file your taxes today

Image source: Flickr user Chris Potter

By now, you should have received your W2 from your employer, any 1099s from other sources and 1095s pertaining to your insurance coverage. These are the last pieces you need to be able to complete your tax return or, better yet, to have a qualified tax preparer take care of your 1040 for you. Although the filing deadline won't come for two more months, there's no reason to wait until the last minute to file. In fact, here are five reasons to prepare your 2014 tax return as soon as possible:

Top Scams to Watch Out for in 2015 – Part 2

Money scams

Scams can cost you big money

Image source: Flickr user Steven Depolo

Scams are a fact of everyday life and if you don't identify and avoid them you can lose out on big bucks. Many of these scams have been around awhile and persist because they're successful, while cutting edge fraudsters are always looking for new angles to work. In the second part of our two part series, we reveal the four top scams the Better Business Bureau and other consumer advocates are warning will be big in 2015. Be on the lookout for the following:

Top Scams to Watch Out for in 2015 – Part 1

Internet scam

Internet scams are common these days

Image source: Flickr user Nina Hale

Scams get more sophisticated all the time and so you, as a consumer, need to get more savvy about protecting yourself from those that would steal your identity and your money. Some scams are just updates on old ones, some are all new fraud mechanisms designed to deceive while still others involve fraudsters posing online as friends or relatives to get you to click links or reveal personal information. In this two part series, we'll reveal the top scams that the Better Business Bureau and other consumer protection agencies have reported in recent months that you should know about in order to protect yourself.

How Credit Scores Are Calculated and 3 Ways to Improve Yours

Credit

Credit scores determine credit card interest and impacts your finances

Image source: Flickr user Chris Potter

We all know that credit scores are three of the most important digits in our lives and that paying your bills on time will keep yours in good shape, but beyond that, how much do you actually know about how your credit score is calculated? Even if you always pay everything on time, your score may not be what it could and if you have to pick and choose between which bills you pay because money is tight, some choices will hit your credit score harder. Let's take a look first at the credit score calculation.

6 Top Divorce Money Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Divorce

Divorce is bad enough, but money problems can make it worse

Image source: Flickr user Cordell and Cordell

Did you know that January is the top month for divorce filings? Whether this is because it rounds out the tax year, couples were just trying to make it through the holiday or a New Year's resolution to be happier just motivates people to end an unhappy marriage isn't certain. Likely, it varies from couple to couple. What doesn't change is that a divorce can wreck your finances even if you're doing well with your money.

The Top 5 Causes of Bankruptcy Revealed – Has One of These Things Ruined Your Finances?

Five

Five most common causes of bankruptcy are external, not internal

Image source: Flickr user Frank Boston

When your money gets tight and you're struggling to pay bills, you may blame yourself and think that financial missteps have led you to where you are now. Blaming yourself is not productive and adds more stress to an already stressful predicament. In fact, the vast majority of personal bankruptcies are driven by external events that are difficult for most people to weather. Today we'll take a look at the top five causes of bankruptcy, how these major life events can wreck your finances and what you can do about it.

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