Debt forgiveness is when a lender writes off some or all of your outstanding debt. Although this looks great on paper, most debt forgiveness options come with some sort of catch. There’s also the chance that you may come across fraudulent debt forgiveness scams, so it’s crucial that you research thoroughly and read all of the fine print before signing up for a debt forgiveness program or service.
Your debt forgiveness choices vary greatly depending on the type of debt you are addressing, and each option comes with its own set of requirements, rules, tax bills and potential credit impact. Below are a few common debt forgiveness options:
Credit Card Debt Forgiveness
Credit card companies may forgive a portion of your balance through a debt settlement process. When you work with a debt settlement organization, their experts will consult with your credit issuer directly to negotiate and get a legal settlement agreement. Oftentimes, the new settlement is lower than what you originally owed.
To help you pay the funds that you will still owe, debt settlement companies will help you create a settlement account in your name into which you’ll make monthly deposits. These funds will be used to pay your creditors the amounts agreed upon in the negotiated settlements.
Although it isn’t an overnight fix, debt settlement programs can help streamline your debt repayment by creating a clear timeline for you to follow. If successful, you should be able to complete your program over 12-48 months.
Debt Forgiveness for Student Loans
When it comes to student loan debt, your options vary based on whether the loan is a private or federal loan.
Student loan forgiveness programs for federal loans are typically difficult to qualify for, as they’re often based on your income, the kind of work you do and the amount you owe. The most common student loan forgiveness programs are available to those who work in public service, the military or education. More details on the available types of loan forgiveness, cancellation and discharge programs can be found on the Federal Student Aid website.
Those dealing with private student loans may be able to find partial debt forgiveness through debt resolution programs and debt settlement. Many also pursue relief from their debt through debt consolidation loans and credit counseling, but it’s important to remember that these options cannot reduce your original balance.
Medical Debt Forgiveness
If you are struggling to keep up with your medical bills, you should first reach out to your healthcare provider and attempt to negotiate for discounts. Your service provider may offer an income-based sliding scale payment program or a repayment plan that allows smaller payments over a period of time. Be sure to take a careful look at the items and services you were charged for, as there’s always a chance that there may be billing errors.
If you qualify for Medicaid, you might be able to have a portion or all of your outstanding medical bills covered. Medicaid programs vary by state; more information can be found at Medicaid.gov.
Although it’s not guaranteed, debt relief companies may be able to get a portion of your medical debt forgiven through debt settlement. Look into medical debt settlement programs when you’ve exhausted your other options.
Although you may be able to receive a form of debt forgiveness through bankruptcy, the legal process comes with long-term consequences. At the end of both the Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy process, the court may choose to discharge your remaining unsecured debts. However, your bankruptcy filing will likely stay on your credit report for 7 to 10 years, which can greatly affect your future credit applications.
Depending on your unique financial situation, bankruptcy might be your best option. Always speak with an attorney before proceeding with a bankruptcy filing.
Are Debt Forgiveness Programs Right for Me?
It’s crucial to create a plan and take action if you want to regain control of your finances. Reaching out to your creditors directly to discuss any debt forgiveness or repayment options could result in receiving much-needed assistance.
If your negotiations with creditors are unsuccessful, don’t panic - your next best step is to consult with debt relief specialists. Accredited Debt Relief’s debt negotiation specialists have helped people across the US pay off their debts faster. Contact us today for a free consultation.