Elderly people in Virginia and nationwide are finding it more difficult to make ends meet. As a result, an increasing number of people are filing for bankruptcy later in life. There are a number of factors that are contributing to the problem, including major financial and social shifts in society. In 1991, only 2% of the people who filed for bankruptcy were elderly; that number has now reached 12%. People over 65 are often seeking relief from a range of debts. However, there are still obligations that cannot be discharged in personal bankruptcy, including student loans, tax obligations or overdue child support.
While the student loan crisis may be more heavily associated with financial problems for younger Americans, it is also impacting elderly people. Elders may co-sign student loans with their children and grandchildren and wind up with nondischargeable debt. In most cases, elderly people filing for personal bankruptcy have low incomes. A full 78% of all bankruptcy filings by people over 65 involved those with incomes below the median. In addition to the student loan issue, other factors have also contributed to elder bankruptcy. Fewer people can rely on pension plans, and wages have stagnated over the years. It is more difficult for low-income people to save successfully for retirement.
Medical bills are also an issue, especially as cuts over the years have eroded Medicare coverage for many types of care or prescription drugs. More serious medical conditions may also come with higher bills. In addition, financial scams and exploitation are serious problems.
People of any age who are facing creditor harassment and mounting debt may be seeking debt relief. A bankruptcy lawyer can provide advice and guidance on filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.