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3 1/2 years ago I got sick and had to resign from a state job. I literally lost everything and became homeless for about 2 years. I've worked hard to get a stable home while fighting for my SSDI. My credit is in complete shambles all the while owing a lot of debt. Debt that I am watching being sold over and over that seems to reset the date and add to my already massive amount owed. I currently survive on $245 a month. How can I started rebuilding? I'm willing to take care of my debt even knowing I can barely afford to do much currently.


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@Kimberly Andujo I'm so sorry to hear all of this. It sounds like you're working really hard and trying to do the right thing, and I very much admire you for that!

The reality is, though, that $245 a month (or even per week) is pretty much impossible to live on, even before you try to start paying off debt. YOU are a lot more important than your credit. I care most about you being able to meet your basic needs right now. So I don't think you should pay anything on this debt right now if it would jeopardize your housing or your ability to keep yourself fed or go to the doctor.

Even if your debt is being resold over and over, it doesn't reset the date for the statute of limitations or how long it stays on your credit for. The only date that matters for both of these is the date you became delinquent.

You can call your creditors and let them know your situation. Ask them if they have a hardship program that might allow you to push back your payments some, and let them know how hard you're trying to pay. But please don't let them talk you into paying a dime you can't afford to — and based on what you've said, I don't think you can afford to be paying this debt right now.

And if you feel badly about your inability to pay, I really think you need to give yourself a break on this. Creditors charge interest so they can make a profit, even though some people aren't going to pay — in some cases, it's because they lived beyond their means, but in plenty of other cases, because they fell on hard times through no fault of their own. The way to rebuild here is to focus on your own needs before your credit.

Couldn't agree more with @Dear Penny here. You should prioritize your basic needs above anything else. And as a first step, contacting your lenders and banks to negotiate deferments can also help, even to just to alleviate some of the stress you're feeling about missing payments.

There are some resources in this guide that you may find helpful, including contact information for lenders so you can negotiate a payment plan (you can also try reaching out to your utilities companies and landlord as well), job openings, free or discounted groceries, and more.

Perhaps you would consider filing for bankruptcy and getting a fresh start? If the debt is mainly 3-4 years old as I think that you are saying. There are ways to do this on your own if you study enough and there are some attorneys that allow you to do the tedious paperwork for a discounted fee to represent you in court.

At $245 per month, you need to focus on your current needs and NOT old debt. That is not enough money to feed and house yourself without help. Once you get SSDI your debts cannot garnish your benefits. So you become uncollectible. But until everything is 6-7 years old will you see the benefit of the statute of limitations for getting these debts to stop collecting or harassing you.

At your current income level, you are basically uncollectible. Even to the IRS. And when you receive US benefits they usually will classify you as uncollectible as well. (I am NOT an attorney so this is just from personal experience.) You can get student loans forgiven. Medical debt is not calculated in the same manner as CC's or loans, etc. Do not focus on medical debt.

These are just a few points that I have learned when I was in the same situation many years ago. Good luck to you. Better days are coming. Stay Strong,

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