Hurricane Harvey Debt Relief
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Hurricane Harvey Debt Relief
For those who survived Hurricane Harvey and are now affected by the aftermath – especially the financial ramifications – it can still feel as if the water hasn’t receded.
The weeks and months after a natural disaster are often the most difficult. You want nothing more than to have your life return to normal, but this is the new normal. And for many, that means dealing with serious debt – debt that has gotten worse since the storm or that is a direct result of the storm.
What Options are Available for those Facing Financial Hardship because of Hurricane Harvey?
First, it’s important everyone affected by the storm know that debt relief is available. It comes in a variety of different forms, but you don’t need to worry there is no end in sight. Even if things have seemed bleak so far, you can get Hurricane Harvey debt relief if you’re struggling.
Regardless of your specific situation, there are a few things you should do now that you’re dealing with the storm’s aftermath. The following tips can help those affected in any way by Hurricane Harvey:
- Gather all of your information (that is available and wasn’t destroyed in the flood) and create a list of all of your debts.
- Contact your lenders and let them know you were affected by the flood. If you’re out of work as a result of the storm, you’ll want to let them know that, as well.
- Keep a record of any phone conversations you have, including the person with whom you spoke. In some cases, lenders will be willing to work with you and create an arrangement that allows you to stay current on your bills.
Once you’ve notified everyone affected by your situation, you can explore your options for debt relief. In most cases, the arrangements you make with your creditors will only be temporary. If your financial situation is less than temporary, it’s important to use the time you’ve been extended to determine what comes next.
Those affected by the flood have access to both public and private programs. In September, the government passed a Hurricane Harvey debt relief bill that is intended to provide money to everyone affected by the storm. It’s important to take advantage of all the opportunities available, even if it requires some effort and some patience, as most of these post-disaster relief programs do.
In addition to loan and grant programs, the IRS is also providing tax relief to victims of Hurricane Harvey. According to the IRS website,
“Special tax relief and assistance is available to taxpayers in the Presidential Disaster Areas. We are monitoring the situation closely to resolve potential tax administration issues as they are identified.”
Relief is available for residents in both Texas and Louisiana based on their county of residence.
Banks Providing Relief to Hurricane Victims
In addition to the IRS and a variety of other programs, many banks have also extended assistance to hurricane victims. Relief included and in some cases still includes automatic waiving of late fees and other penalties, monetary donations, waiving of ATM fees, in some cases for non-customers, too, and loan payment extensions, and discounted rates on loans.
Customers at the following banks could be eligible for relief:
- Bank of America
- BB&T Bank
- Wells Fargo
- Cullens/Frost Bank
- TD Bank
Other Debt Relief Programs
In addition to public and private programs, victims of Hurricane Harvey have some other options. Whether your debt issues were happening before the storm or you’ve found yourself in an unexpected place as a result of the hurricane, bankruptcy might be the answer to your problems.
Both Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 can be an effective way to resolve the issues you’re dealing with after the hurricane. In Chapter 13, you’ll have the opportunity to remain in your home and set up a payment plan for your debt. Even if you’ve fallen behind on your mortgage payments because of the storm, Chapter 13 can help.
If your home was damaged beyond repair or you didn’t own a home and you’re struggling to make ends meet because of Hurricane Harvey, Chapter 7 might be the right option for you. Chapter 7 allows you to discharge a significant portion of your debt and start fresh. It’s not the right choice for everyone, but those struggling because of the storm could benefit from a fresh financial start.
Those already in the midst of Chapter 13 bankruptcy were also granted some relief. Those who have filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy who live in the Corpus Christi, Galveston, Houston, or Victoria areas and impacted by Hurricane Harvey were granted relief from the bankruptcy court regarding non-payment in their plans. The court encouraged those who fell behind on their plans from the end of August through October to file motions to modify their plans to enable them to catch up on delinquent payments.
A variety of specific benefits were offered by the bankruptcy court. If you’d like to learn more about the provision that might benefit you in the aftermath of the storm, contact us.
Bankruptcy is a tool often used by those involved in natural disasters. It is one of the most effective ways to ease the financial burdens you now face, especially when other disaster relief support is taking too long or doesn’t provide enough. The best thing you can do if you were affected by the recent hurricane in Texas is to explore your options and find out what’s available.
Whether you were struggling prior to Hurricane Harvey or the storm threw your life into disarray and you’re now dealing with issues you never thought possible, we can help. Those living in the area could be eligible for a variety of debt relief, including bankruptcy. Filing can be especially helpful to those who wish to retain ownership of their homes, or for those who are dealing with damage to their homes and unable to collect flood insurance compensation.
If you’d like to know more or you’re wondering if bankruptcy could help you during this difficult time, contact us 1.800.220.4318 to schedule a consultation.