WillI go to jail for not being able to pay on my credit cards?

UPDATED: Oct 10, 2011

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WillI go to jail for not being able to pay on my credit cards?

My income is only my social security, which is not enough to cover them.

Asked on October 10, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, New Hampshire


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that people don't go to jail for owing money. Debtor's prison went out about the time of Charles Dickens. The exception to this would be would be if the borrower committed fraud in obtaining the money. That would be a crime. For example, if they conned someone into lending money with no intention to repay.  Additionally, if you have been threatened with criminal action for non-payment, that is illegal (in fact you could sue them). 

If you have no other assets, there isn't much that a creditor can do to you. They can't even garnish your bank account since all you have is social security income - as long as such income is direct deposited into your account; at that point they are legally protected. You can have up to 2 months worth of SS deposits (after that your creditors can make a claim to the excess money). 

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