Consumer Debt Unit Helping Elderly Manage Bills, Notes Elder Law Attorney

Law Firm Newswire



Bloomfield Hills, MI (Law Firm Newswire) May 8, 2013 – A Maine-based group is helping local seniors pay off debt.

A nonprofit group based in Maine, Legal Services for the Elderly (LSE), has announced that it has formed a Consumer Debt Unit within its organization to help clients pay off outstanding debt. As of 2009, LSE noted an increase of more than 25 percent of elderly clients who were struggling to manage their debt burden, a majority of whom used to be able to meet their bills every month and now cannot.

“The truth is, older Americans who depend on Social Security benefits or disability checks to meet their bills and who can no longer work or who cannot find work, have no way to repay their debt,” commented Michigan elder law attorney Christopher J. Berry.

There are multiple factors that have led to the consumer debt increase for the elderly, not just in Maine, but nationwide, but Maine has a higher-than-average rate of poverty among the elderly population. Price hikes for food, fuel and health care promoted an increase in the use of credit cards with inflated interest rates. The loss of a spouse, a medical issue, and the use of credit cards to pay for household items, and even the use of credit cards by other family members or friends have all been reported to contribute to a debt load which became unmanageable, seniors reported. While health care bills continue to be the leading factor contributing to senior debt, living on a fixed income often means that bills can never be paid in full.

The Legal Services for the Elderly Consumer Debt Unit is being watched by elder care advocates to see if it works successfully as a model for other debt units to be launched throughout the state. Seniors work with staff to assess their level of debt, work out a budget, and contact creditors, designing a pay-back system or taking necessary steps to avoid collection. The Unit receives funding from the Administration on Aging in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which helps pay for an on-staff elder law attorney and a paralegal.

Learn more at

The Elder Care Firm of Christopher J. Berry
2550 S Telegraph Rd.
Ste 255
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302
Local: 248.481.4000
Toll free: 855-41-Elder (855-413-5337)

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