What to do if 4 years ago I got hurt while on the job and now can’t pay my bills?

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What to do if 4 years ago I got hurt while on the job and now can’t pay my bills?

This has lead to 3 knee surgeries and a battle with workers comp for a 4th in a full knee replacement. I lost my job, my home that came with the job and have been living off my “settlement” check from workers comp of $230 a week. I have been denied benefits from EDD due to lack of income the previous year and have bills totally around $1500 a month. Are there any other benefits I can receive or can I file for bankruptcy?

Asked on September 5, 2013 under Bankruptcy Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you are disabled and can no longer work, you may be eligible for Social Security disability, known as SSI.

Bankruptcy may discharge, or eliminate, your current bills in whole or in part, but bear in mind that if you can't pay your rent, property taxes, and/or mortgage (depending on if you are currently leasing or own), you will not be able to continue living where you currently are: a bankruptcy filing will temporarily stay, or delay, efforts to evict or foreclose, but does so only temporarily; there is no way to indefinitely live somewhere without paying unless the property owner voluntarily lets you do this  (e.g. is a friend or family member). Therefore, bankruptcy may not truly help you in that regard.

Also, bankruptcy only applies to debts up to when you file; debts after filing are not affected by bankruptcy. Therefore, if you are going to be running at a negative on an ongoing basis, bankruptcy will again only offer a temporary reprieve.


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