Vance P. Truman, Attorney at Law
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Furloughed workers may have debt relief options

This week, approximately 800,000 furloughed government workers missed the first of what could potentially be multiple paychecks until the government reopens. For many of these individuals and their families, it spells nothing short of utter disaster.

What's worse is that back pay for workers isn't guaranteed, although in the past it has been customary. The Center for American Progress, an advocacy group that leans left of center, predicts that each pay period, those government employees who are impacted will lose roughly $2.2 billion.

What should workers do?

Pay your most urgent bills first, such as mortgages, rent and utilities. If you are already out of funds, communicate this to your creditors and explain why. Many lenders and individual creditors are agreeing to extend forbearance during the shutdown.

If the shutdown stretches on much longer, it's very likely that federal workers will notice their credit scores taking a hit. The longer they are unable to pay their monthly bills, the more serious the ding will be to their credit ratings.

In some cases, the furloughed workers were not earning a lot of money and were already struggling with their finances. This could be the final coffin nail that ruins them financially and puts them deeply in debt for years to come.

Ohioans who are facing these or similar circumstances may realize that the only way out is to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief. While nobody wants to have to file for bankruptcy, some individuals come out of it much better off financially than they ever were when they were mired in debt.

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